|17 February, 2020

WHO virus team to visit Beijing, Guangdong, Sichuan - China and WHO say

In Geneva, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said that the mission began its work on Sunday

BEIJING- A World Health Organization (WHO) delegation of experts currently in Beijing to probe the coronavirus outbreak will also visit the provinces of Guangdong and Sichuan, spokesmen for China's National Health Commission and the WHO said on Monday.

In Beijing, a spokesman for the National Health Commission announced the details of the visit at a media briefing Monday.

A small advance team of three, including mission leader Dr. Bruce Aylward of the WHO, arrived a week ago, while other members arrived at the weekend.

The names and affiliations of the 12-member WHO-led international team have not been announced and it was not clear whether they included experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

In Geneva, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said that the mission began its work on Sunday, with "an in-depth workshop and data review with the principal ministries" that are leading or contributing to the outbreak response.

On Monday, the WHO-led team had discussions with Beijing health authorities on the evolving outbreak in the municipality, visited the main infectious disease facility Ditan Hospital and the Anzhen community centre and health clinic, and held talks with the China Centre for Disease Control (CDC), he said.

"Later this week they are going to Sichuan and Guangdong provinces to understand the application and impact of response activities at provincial and county levels," Jasarevic said.

(Reporting by Huizhong Wu and Yawen Chen in Beijing and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Editing by Alex Richardson) ((Huizhong.Wu@thomsonreuters.com; +86 10 56692111; Reuters Messaging: Follow me on Twitter @huizhong_wu))

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