HONG KONG—China has agreed to allow a team of World Health Organization experts to enter the country to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, days after the United Nations agency’s top official criticized Beijing for holding up the mission.
The WHO experts are scheduled to start their mission on Thursday and will be working with Chinese scientists in studying the contagion’s origins, China’s National Health Commission said in a brief statement on Monday.
A health commission official earlier said the WHO team would be traveling to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first detected and which became the first Covid-19 hot spot.
A WHO spokeswoman said the agency welcomed China’s announcement. “We look forward to working closely with our Chinese counterparts on this critical mission to identify the source of the virus and its route of introduction to the human population,” she said in an emailed response to queries.
Last week, in a rare rebuke against Beijing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusvoiced disappointment that China still hadn’t given permission to the U.N. agency’s investigators to enter the country—an unusual sign of tensions between the WHO and one of its most important members.