China denies entry to one WHO task force member who tested COVID positive

Wuhan: One member of World Health Organization (WHO) task force, who has tested COVID-19 positive, will not be allowed to enter the country, said the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday.

Fifteen WHO experts were set to arrive in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on Thursday to investigate the origins of the novel coronavirus, but two were held back in Singapore after testing positive for Covid-19 IgM antibodies, CNN reported.

After the second round of tests, one would be allowed to enter, but one would not be granted entry, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.

“Among the 15 members of the WHO expert group, there was one expert from the UK and one Sudanese expert from Qatar who tested positive for the IgM serum antibody in Singapore airport during the transit,” CNN quoted Zhao as saying.

However, the British expert had a negative result in the second test, while the Qatari expert tested positive again, Zhao added.

Zhao further said that “We have agreed that the British expert will come to China, and we will continue to maintain communication with WHO on related matters and make joint efforts to cooperate on tracing the origin of the virus.”

Regulations require passengers from Singapore to China to complete a nucleic acid test, a serum test, and for IgM anti-bodies, and then obtain the double-negative test results within two days before boarding, he said.

Last year in November, China implemented the requirement of the “double-negative” test.

According to CNN, when asked about the two scientists in a briefing on Thursday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian did not directly comment but said, “China will strictly follow the relevant epidemic prevention regulations and requirements, and provide corresponding support and facilities for WHO experts who come to China to carry out international cooperation on tracing the origin of the virus.”