China: Still negotiating timing of WHO team visit

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson has indicated Beijing and the World Health Organization are still negotiating the timing of a visit by a group of international experts to the country.

The WHO hoped to dispatch the team to China this week to probe coronavirus origins and what happened during the early stages of the outbreak there.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday that he was "very disappointed" that China had not finalized necessary permissions for two of the team members' entry.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying acknowledged at a news conference on Wednesday the disappointment expressed by Tedros. She explained there may have been "misunderstanding" in the talks between China and the WHO.

Calling the issue of coronavirus origins "very complex," Hua said both sides are still in discussions to ensure the team's investigation will proceed smoothly.

Hua sought understanding by saying Chinese health officials and experts are busy dealing with sporadic cases of coronavirus infections inside the country.