An international team of scientists arrived Thursday in Wuhan, China, the original epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, to investigate the origins of the virus — but two members of the group were forced to stay behind after testing positive for coronavirus antibodies, officials said.
The group was sent to the Chinese city by the World Health Organization after President Xi Jinping’s government finally approved the trip.
Fifteen members of the global team were slated to touch down in Wuhan Thursday, but two of them got held up in Singapore when they tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, the WHO said in a series of tweets.
All team members had multiple negative PCR and antibody tests for COVID-19 in their home countries before traveling, the UN health agency said.
The members were then tested again in Singapore and they all tested negative on the PCR test, but two tested positive for antibodies.
“They are being retested for both IgM and IgG antibodies,” the WHO said.
The other 13 researchers “will begin their work immediately during the 2 weeks quarantine protocol for international travelers,” according to the WHO.
They will work with Chinese experts via video conference while in quarantine.
The team includes scientists from the United States, Australia, Germany, Japan, Britain, Russia, the Netherlands, Qatar and Vietnam.
China initially rejected demands for an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.
The coronavirus has so far killed more than 1.9 million people worldwide and infected more than 92.7 million across the globe, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
With Post wires
Two members of WHO team can’t enter China over positive antibody tests The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.