A two-person team from the World Health Organization has completed the foundation for an investigation into the animal origins of the novel coronavirus. 

According to a source, the advance team reported the culmination of its three-week assignment in China where they engaged in "extensive discussions with Chinese counterparts and received updates on epidemiological studies, biologic and genetic analyses, and animal health research." Resident virologists and scientists of Wuhan, including Beijing's health authorities, had participated in video discussions that the advance team carried out. 

Reportedly, an expert panel had urged the WHO to expedite the advance mission to China which had been in the works since June so that the virus's critical unknowns could be studied in greater depth. The salient points to be studied included the animal source and its potential animal reservoirs which the director of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, had described as an essential element in fighting the virus. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Michael Joseph Ryan who is the director of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme said that although the groundwork for the investigation has already been completed, it could take at least a few weeks before a full team set for the investigation could be deployed in China as the WHO is still recruiting experts for the mission from around the world. 

The team members of the said mission explained that they had to complete China's quarantine requirements when they initially arrived on July 7 before they were allowed to begin their three-week assignment. 

Although the WHO remains on high alert for COVID-19, it acknowledged the need to resume air travel in some places. It issued a revised guide on Thursday entailing the recommended health practices for traveling officials and health authorities. 

Certain screening protocols were recommended for traveling passengers such as the COVID-19 RT-PCR Test -- a nasal swab used to test for the virus. It also suggested that countries should increase isolation capacities and strengthen contact-tracing measures. Immunity certificates for international travel were dismissed in the guide saying such claims are not supported scientifically. 

Tedros warned in a press release held after the meeting that the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic could be felt for decades to come.

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