World Health Organisation denies delaying Covid-19 warning to world

10 May 2020, 13:26

The WHO chief Dr Tedros has denied the reports
The WHO chief Dr Tedros has denied the reports. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

World Health Organisation (WHO) officials have denied reports that the president of China personally asked the body to hold back details of the coronavirus outbreak and delay issuing a warning to the world.

The WHO has faced criticism for delays in calling the outbreak a pandemic, and for echoing China’s claims at the start of the outbreak that the virus could not be transmitted between humans.

A report compiled by security authorities in Germany claims Xi Jinping contacted the head of the WHO to ask him to delay informing the world.

According to German news outlet Der Spiegel, a call took place between Xi Jinping and WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on January 21.

China's president has been accused of leaning on the WHO to delay details of coronavirus
China's president has been accused of leaning on the WHO to delay details of coronavirus. Picture: PA

The report cites sources in Germany’s BND intelligence service, and states the Chinese leader told Dr Tedros to hold back information on human to human transmission and delay the pandemic warning.

The BND estimated that China’s information policy caused four to six weeks to be lost in the fight against the virus worldwide,” the report added.

The Covid-10 outbreak was classed as a pandemic by the WHO on March 11.

The WHO said today the reports were “unfounded and untrue”.

“Dr Tedros and President Xi did not speak on January 21 and they have never spoken by phone.

“Such inaccurate reports distract and detract from WHO's and the world's efforts to end the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Their statement added: “China confirmed human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus on January 20 [prior to the alleged phone conversation].

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“The WHO publicly declared on January 22 that ‘data collected … suggests that human-to-human transmission is taking place in Wuhan’.”

In April, the Trump Administration claimed he WHO was becoming a tool of 'Chinese propaganda’.

US president Donald Trump said last Monday: “'The World Health organisation has been a disaster everything they said was wrong and they're China-centric."

"All they do is agree with China, whatever China wants to do.

"So our country, perhaps foolishly in retrospect has been paying $450million a year to the World Health Organisation and China's been paying $38million a year but they were more political than all of our leaders previously.

"What they did, what World Health did, was they missed every single call and we're not going to put up with it."