Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, WHO, said that a thorough investigation needs to be done into the origins of the virus.
Amid allegations that China delayed information concerning the novel coronavirus, a team of World Health Organization (WHO) is set to visit China next week to investigate the origin of COVID-19.
The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide has crossed the 11 million mark and now stands at 11,048,509. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths recorded globally has reached over 5.24 lakh (5,24,663), according to data released by Johns Hopkins University.
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in January spoke about an agreement with China for sending a team of international experts to work on increasing the understanding of the outbreak.
In an interview with news agency ANI, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, WHO, said that a thorough investigation needs to be done into the origins of the virus. "WHO has been working with the Chinese government for the visit. A team is going to China next week to investigate the origins of the virus,” Swaminathan said.
“We need to investigate where and how it jumped from animal to human. It is possible that the virus came directly to humans. However, it is also possible that there was an intermediate animal like in the case of SARS. A thorough investigation needs to be done,” she added.
United States President Donald Trump has accused the UN health body of failing to provide the information needed to stem the pandemic and of being complacent towards Beijing. WHO has denied the charges.
With 22,771 people testing positive for coronavirus in a single day, the highest so far, India's COVID-19 tally climbed to 6,48,315 on Saturday, while the death toll rose to 18,655 with 442 new fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data. With a steady rise, the number of recoveries stands at 3,94,226 and one patient has migrated. There are 2,35,433 active cases of coronavirus presently in the country, the updated data at 8 am showed.Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic