An advance team from the World Health Organization (WHO) has started their journey for China for organizing an investigation into the origins of the deadly novel coronavirus or COVID-19 that sparked the pandemic, a spokeswoman mentioned on Friday.

The two WHO experts, specialists in animal science and epidemiology, will work with Chinese scientists to determine the scope and itinerary of the investigation, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a U.N. briefing. "They are gone, they are in the air now, they are the advance party to work out the scope," she said.

WHO Experts to Investigate COVID-19 Origin

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The WHO will have no role in an independent panel, announced on Thursday, to review the global handling of pandemic, Harris said, adding: "From now on it is completely hands off".

The deadly virus outbreak has created a major stir around the world and has claimed the lives of more than 555,000 people worldwide and infected over 12.2 million people globally in more than 170 countries.

(With agency inputs)