WHO experts visit Chinese coronavirus epicenter

Nurses work at an ICU ward specialised for patients infected by coronavirus in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province. (AP)

Experts from the World Health Organization have visited the locked-down central Chinese city at the epicenter of the deadly global coronavirus outbreak, Chinese authorities said Monday.

The trip over the weekend is the first reported visit to Wuhan by the WHO since the virus emerged from the city of 11 million people late last year.

The virus, which is suspected to have crossed from animals to humans at a market in Wuhan, has killed more than 2,500 people across China and spread around the world.

The international group of experts led by the WHO inspected two hospitals during their visit, including a makeshift one at a sports center, the National Health Commission said on Monday.

They also met with top officials at the center for disease control for Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital.

China has quarantined Wuhan and other cities in Hubei, blocking tens of millions of residents from travelling, since late January, to try and contain the virus.

Most of the deaths have been in Wuhan.

The WHO team arrived in China more than a week ago to observe research and testing efforts, so they could then help with recommendations for fighting the epidemic, the National Health Council said previously.

The WHO has praised Beijing for its handling of the epidemic.

But China has been criticized at home for silencing early warnings from a whistleblower doctor who later died from the virus.

The United States has also called for more transparency.

China’s numbers of daily new infections have been on a downward trend, but health authorities have sowed confusion about the data by repeatedly changing counting methods.

There have been more than 77,000 confirmed infections in China.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:02 - GMT 07:02
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