China says WHO experts have arrived for coronavirus origin tracing

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(CNN) - Two experts from the World Health Organization have arrived in Beijing to work with their Chinese counterparts on tracing the origin of COVID-19, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) confirmed Monday.

"We have a basic consensus with the WHO -- that is: Source tracing is a scientific issue, and should be assessed and cooperated by scientists all over the world," MOFA spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press conference.

"The WHO also believes that this is an ongoing process and it may concern multiple countries and localities, and the WHO will conduct similar inspections to other countries and regions based on its need."

No further details of the WHO team's schedule while in China has been released.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout said this is what we know about the team so far:

The team consists of two experts -- one an expert in animal health and the other an epidemiologist.

This is an advance team, which means they are in China to determine the agenda, scope and scale of a wider investigation into the origin of the coronavirus.

It is still very early on in this process.

According to the WHO, the two individuals will try to answer two critical questions:

1. We know the virus is found in bats, but is there an intermediate species -- another animal host -- that also transmitted the virus?

2. How did the virus make the leap from animals to humans?

The visit comes at a time of fraught political tensions between the US, China and the WHO.

"We know the WHO has been under fire for its relationship with China, we know that the US under President Donald Trump is withdrawing from the WHO," Lu Stout said.

"So there's a lot of scrutiny and pressure on this two-person advance WHO team in China to see whether or not they're going to get access to data, to samples, to files from Chinese authorities to Chinese scientists as well as, critically, answers just to find out what happened."

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