This market, where live wild animals were sold, has been closed since January 2020, and only vehicles from the WHO group of researchers were allowed to enter.
The team members, who finished a 14-day quarantine on Thursday, began the field investigation on Friday, with a visit to the hospital where China says the first patients with covid-19 were treated.
The visit is politically sensitive to Beijing, which has been accused of being slow to react to the first cases of covid-19 reported in late 2019 in this metropolis of central China.
The communist government is practically silent on the matter and Beijing downplays the scope of the foreign experts’ mission.
“This is not an investigation,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, said on Friday, refusing accusations to his country.
Today, experts did not answer questions when they arrived at the market and members of the security services told reporters to leave the scene.
A few days ago, the nationalist daily Global Times published an article that relativized the importance of this market at the beginning of the pandemic, claiming that the “investigations” suggested that it was not the origin of the new coronavirus.
Spotted by controversial management of the pandemic during the first few weeks, the communist government prefers to highlight its victory over the coronavirus.