The World Health Organization-led joint mission to China is expected to touch down this weekend, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today during a press conference.
The mission will include 12 international and WHO experts and a similar number of national expert counterparts from China, he said.
The experts will be reviewing data, in-depth workshops and making field visits in three provinces, among other plans. Ghebreyesus said they will stay as long as they are needed, depending on the scope of work. He said the members of the mission are experts in their fields, but declined to describe the makeup of the international team.
“The goal of the joint mission is to rapidly inform the next steps in the COVID-19 response and preparedness activities in China and globally,” Ghebreyesus said.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has offered to send experts to China, but that offer has not yet been accepted.
US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CNN that the US US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first offered to send experts to China on Jan. 6.
"It's dependent on the Chinese to make their decisions and facilitate that," Azar said. "The World Health Organization, we believe, has secured agreement to deploy a WHO team with our US public health experts as part of that team. We are ready to go and we are waiting for final clearance from the Chinese government to make that happen."