After consultation between the two sides, the Chinese government has agreed that the World Health Organization (WHO) will send experts to Beijing to exchange ideas with Chinese scientists and medical experts on science-based cooperation to trace the origin of the COVID-19 virus, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Wednesday.
Noting that WHO experts will be traveling to China to prepare scientific plans for identifying the zoonotic source of the disease, Zhao told a daily press briefing that experts from both sides will develop the scope and Terms of Reference for a WHO-led international mission.
"Virus source tracing is a scientific issue that should be studied by scientists through international research and cooperation across the globe," Zhao said, adding that it is also the view of WHO that it is an ongoing process probably concerning many countries and localities, and WHO will conduct similar trips to other countries and regions in light of the actual need.
Zhao said that the WHO and China have maintained communication and cooperation since the start of the pandemic.
Identifying the origin of emerging viral disease has proven complex in past epidemics in different countries. A well planned series of scientific researches will advance the understanding of animal reservoirs and the route of transmission to humans. The process is an evolving endeavor which may lead to further international scientific research and collaboration globally, Zhao said.