China concealed Covid-19 information, causing WHO to not respond promptly

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Image: EPA)
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Image: EPA)

An investigation by the Associated Press news agency showed that China had delayed providing the Covid-19 epidemic information to the World Health Organization (WHO), making it unable to respond.

According to the AP investigation, during January of this year, WHO repeatedly praised China for its prompt response to the Covid-19 epidemic, and thanked the Chinese government for sharing the corona virus’s genetic map. recently caused the “immediate” Covid-19 epidemic. However, the reality behind that is not so. An AP investigation indicates that Chinese officials have delayed the release of a new gene map of the new corona virus about a week after many of the country’s government laboratories fully decoded and did not share important details. important for testing, treatment and vaccine preparation. AP said it was based on WHO internal documents, emails and many other interviews.

Chinese health officials released the genetic map on January 11, after a laboratory in China revealed. Nonetheless, China continued to postpone at least 2 weeks for the provision of necessary information to WHO.

Although WHO continues to praise China publicly, the recordings it has collected show that WHO officials are concerned that China does not share enough information to assess the severity of the epidemic and make the world miss the golden time to stop the epidemic.

“We are at a stage where they provide us with information only 15 minutes before it appears on CCTV (China National Television) news,” said Dr. Gauden Galea, a senior official of WHO in China, speaking in an internal meeting of the organization.

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO epidemiologist, also said in an internal meeting: “We have received very minimal information. Clearly, this information is not enough to make a response plan. fit”,

WHO officials are concerned about how to pressure China to provide more information without angering Chinese officials or influencing Chinese scientists. Praising China’s response is one way WHO officials hope to be able to gather more information about the disease.

By mid-January, the WHO Emergency Program Director, Mike Ryan, told his colleagues that more pressure was needed on China.

Until January 20, Chinese officials warned the new corona virus could be passed from person to person, which it had previously denied. At that time, WHO sent a delegation to the center of Wuhan, China to investigate. Experts on the WHO emergency committee met twice a week and decided to oppose the declaration of an emergency on the Covid-19 epidemic. However, the organization’s concerns eventually led to WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and a number of leading scientists deciding to make a surprise trip to Beijing. After this trip, WHO convened an emergency meeting to declare a state of emergency due to Covid-19.

China’s delay in sharing information has led WHO to respond to the disease late. Since the discovery of the first Covid-19 case on January 2 until the WHO declared a global emergency on January 30, the number of Covid-19 cases has increased to hundreds of cases.

Chinese officials and WHO have not commented on the information.

The Covid-19 outbreak began in Wuhan, China late last year and has now spread to almost every country in the world, causing more than 6 million people to get sick and more than 380,000 to die.