China agrees to WHO sending international experts to study virus – statement

GENEVA, Jan 28 (Reuters) – China has agreed that the World Health Organization (WHO) can send international experts there “as soon as possible” to increase understanding of a new coronavirus and guide the global response to the outbreak, the U.N. agency said on Tuesday.

In a statement issued after a two-day visit by WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who met Chinese President Xi Jinping as well as the health and foreign ministers, it said that a better understanding of the virus’ ability to spread from person-to-person was urgently needed to advise other countries.

Tedros can reconvene the WHO Emergency Committee on very short notice as needed, the WHO said in a statement which made no reference to evacuations of foreigners that both sides say were discussed in the Beijing talks.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Emma Farge)