World Health Organisation team in China not visiting COVID-19 outbreak epicentre

Source: 1News

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) team in China is not visiting the COVID-19 outbreak epicentre in Hubei province, according to Chinese media.

Global Times reports the expert team - including American experts - has arrived in Beijing and will visit South China's Guangdong Province and Southwest China's Sichuan Province to study the nation's "prevention and control work on the novel coronavirus."

The Chinese media outlet says China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang made the announcement yesterday and the team has already started their research.

However, the WHO researchers won't be visiting any of the hardest-hit places in Hubei province where ground zero of the outbreak, Wuhan, is located.

"The epidemic-stricken Hubei is not included in the international expert team's destinations, which, according to experts, is because the province is at a vital time combating the epidemic, and cannot spare time and people to receive the experts," Global Times writes.

1 NEWS has contacted the WHO for comment.

The news comes as the WHO's relationship with China has been called into question by some news outlets - including CNN - after being quick to praise China over its containment efforts despite the nation's troubled past when it comes to transparency.

The official number of reported cases in China outside of Huebi province dropped to 79 in today's latest figures as that number declined for the 14th straight day.

There have been over 1800 deaths and just over 73,000 cases worldwide from COVID-19.

So far there have been no cases in New Zealand.