China continues to delay WHO’s access to examine virus origins; Calif. hospitals scramble for space

GENEVA (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization said Tuesday that he is “disappointed” Chinese officials haven’t finalized the permissions to allow a team of experts into China to examine the origins of COVID-19.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a rare critique of Beijing, said members of the international scientific team began departing from their home countries over the last 24 hours as part of an arrangement between WHO and the Chinese government.

“Today, we learned that Chinese officials have not yet finalized the necessary permissions for the team’s arrival in China,” Tedros said during a news conference in Geneva. Read more:

Here’s an update on all developments. Scroll or swipe further for in-depth coverage.

  • The European Union’s medicines agency gave the green light Wednesday to Moderna Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine, a decision that gives the 27-nation bloc a second vaccine to use in the desperate battle to tame the virus rampaging across the continent.
  • A subdued Carnival season begins Wednesday after the coronavirus pandemic put an end to the crowd-heavy balls and street parades that draw thousands of people to the city every year.
  • Hospitals in California are so swamped by the coronavirus pandemic that the state has ordered those with room to accept patients from others that are out of intensive care beds.
  • U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged that his government would use “every available second” to shield the elderly and the vulnerable from the virus rampaging across Britain as he told Parliament on Wednesday why the country needed to return to a COVID-19 lockdown.
  • The Greek government relented and allowed limited attendance at churches celebrating the feast of the Epiphany on Wednesday, reversing a ban on attendance designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further for the latest virus numbers.

Virus by the numbers