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Health workers at a cordoned-off section of the international airport in Wuhan, China, as the World Health Organization team arrives on Thursday. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images

A World Health Organization team of researchers arrived in Wuhan, China, Thursday ahead of their investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Driving the news: Dominic Dwyer, a Sydney virologist based who's among the scientists on the visit, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation they don't expect to find a "patient zero." "But we may have a much better indication of whether the virus truly started in Wuhan," he said.

  • "Or did it start somewhere else but was then amplified in Wuhan? Did it come from an animal source and if so, which one? What was the role of laboratories in all of this? I think we'll have a better idea," Dwyer added.

The big picture: The WHO agreed last May to a call from over 110 countries to lead an independent review of the global coronavirus response after China backed the move following clashes with Australia, which had earlier advocated for a sweeping inquiry.

  • But the visit has been hit by delays. Earlier this month, Chinese officials delayed authorization to allow the international team's scheduled visit — drawing a rare rebuke from World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
  • An AP investigation last month found the ruling Chinese Communist Party enforced controls on research into the outbreak and blocked scientists from being interviewed by reporters.

What's next: The WHO team will undergo two weeks of quarantine before they start their research.

Flashback: Timeline: The early days of China's coronavirus outbreak and cover-up

Go deeper

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.

Bernie Madoff dies in prison at 82

Photo: Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bernie Madoff, a former investor sentenced to 150 years in prison for perpetrating the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history, died Wednesday at age 82, AP reports.

The big picture: Madoff pleaded guilty in 2009 to a multibillion-dollar scheme that investigators said began in the 1970s and defrauded as many as 37,000 people in 136 countries — including high-profile victims like Steven Spielberg, former New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon and actor Kevin Bacon, according to CNBC.