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China Negotiates With WHO Over Permission for Experts to Travel to Wuhan


FILE - Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) attends a session on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak response of the WHO Executive Board in Geneva, Switzerland, Oct. 5, 2020.

China says it is negotiating with the World Health Organization over the final arrangements for a team of international experts to enter the country to investigate the origin of the COVD-19 pandemic.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva Tuesday that he was “very disappointed” that Beijing had failed to grant final permission to the research team, some of whom had already begun their travels to Wuhan, where the virus was first detected in December 2019.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters in Beijing Wednesday there had been a “misunderstanding,” saying the two sides were still in discussions over the specific dates and other arrangements for the international team.

The United States hit another grim milestone in the yearlong coronavirus pandemic Tuesday as it posted a single-day record of 3,775 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

The U.S. also recorded a one-day record Tuesday of 131,195 total coronavirus patients in hospitals, according to The COVID-19 Tracking Project.

Among the 86.4 million global coronavirus cases and 1.8 million deaths, the United States leads the world in both categories with over 21 million total infections, including 357,377 fatalities.

California has become the epicenter of the current surge of COVID-19 infections in the U.S., posting 31,440 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, according to The COVID-19 Tracking Project, pushing its overall numbers to more than 2.4 million cases, including just over 27,000 deaths. The situation has become so dire in Los Angeles, where hospitals have run out of intensive care rooms to house the most seriously ill patients, that emergency workers have been told to administer just enough oxygen to keep a patient’s level right at the optimal threshold for someone infected by COVID-19.

The growing outbreak in the global entertainment capital has also led to the postponement of the annual Grammy Awards, which celebrates the best recorded music of the previous year, from January 31 to March 14.

Across the world, British authorities said Tuesday that about one in 50 people across the nation have been infected with the novel coronavirus. The government also announced that it had recorded more than 60,000 new cases for the first time since the pandemic began. The new numbers were revealed on the same day Britain officially entered into a new month-long lockdown, including the closing of schools and nonessential shops.

European health officials anxiously watch pandemic developments in Britain, the epicenter of a mutant coronavirus strain that is overwhelming hospitals there

Britain has also become a central point of the pandemic with the discovery of a new, more contagious version of COVID-19 that has already been detected in dozens of countries, prompting many of them to temporarily ban travelers from Britain.

Countries have also banned travelers from South Africa, where a separate new variant has also been detected. Denmark announced Wednesday that it is banning all travelers from South Africa and is advising its citizens not to travel to the country.

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