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WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a July 3 press conference in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/pool/AFP via Getty Images

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus admonished China on Tuesday for delaying authorization that would allow groups of scientists from other countries to investigate the origins of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan.

Why it matters: We still don't know how the pandemic began.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: It took nearly a year for China to agree to WHO involvement in an investigation into coronavirus origins, an almost absurdly lengthy delay.

  • During that time, Tedros repeatedly praised China's response and fended off criticism. It's interesting that he would choose to finally speak out against China's last-minute foot-dragging when a year has already been lost.

What he's saying: WHO learned on Tuesday that Chinese officials had "not yet finalized the necessary permissions" for members of the international scientific team to arrive in China, just after those scientists had begun to travel in the last 24 hours, Tedros said.

  • "I am very disappointed with this news, given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute."
  • Tedros said he had been in contact with senior Chinese officials in response to the incident and that he "once again made it clear the mission is a priority for WHO and the international team."
  • "I have been assured that China is speeding up the internal procedure for the earliest possible deployment," he said.

Go deeper

Updated 22 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers — U.S. on the lookout for Omicron casesFDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill.
  2. Politics: Biden says fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns" — Two federal judges temporarily block Biden vaccine mandates.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Pentagon denies Oklahoma National Guard request for exemption from vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron — COVID-19 "radically altered mobility" globally, UN says.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - World

Courage vs. coddling with China

Peng Shuai of China serves during the China Open in Beijing in 2017. Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The women's professional tennis tour suspended tournaments in China Wednesday out of concern for Peng Shuai, on the same day that a top business voice made excuses for Beijing.

Why it matters: Ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, some sports figures are taking on the regime — while Big Business shrinks from confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.

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