WHO denies claims that China asked body to delay Covid-19 warning

Hemani Sheth Mumbi | Updated on May 11, 2020 Published on May 11, 2020

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Sunday refuted claims of China pressured the organisation to delay the global warning for Covid-19, as a report from German media outlet Der Spiegel claims.

The German newspaper, in a report published last Friday, had written about an alleged phone conversation between Chinese President Xi Jinping and WHO leader Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus citing intelligence from Germany’s federal intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND).

According to the report, the Chinese President in the phone call had urged the WHO chief to “delay a global warning” about the pandemic and hold back information on the human-to-human transmission of the virus.

According to the report, China’s action to conceal information resulted in a loss of four to six weeks in the fight to combat Covid-19 as per BND estimates.

WHO had refuted the claims made in the report denying any such conversation. “Statement on False Allegations in @derspiegel: Reports of a 21 Jan phone call between @DrTedros & [China] President Xi are unfounded & untrue. They didn’t speak on 21 Jan & have never spoken by [phone]. Such inaccurate reports distract & detract from WHO's & the [world]’s efforts to end #Covid19,” WHO tweeted on Sunday.

The UN body further said that the date of the phone call as mentioned in the report contradicted the official timeline. As the call was made on January 21 as per the report, however, China had confirmed human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus on January 20. “To note: #China confirmed human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus on 20 Jan 2020. #Covid19,” WHO said.

The Chinese foreign ministry has published a 30-page articled on its website, refuting claims made in the report along with claims made by President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stating that it had responded in a “timely” manner and was “open and transparent” about alerting nations regarding information about the outbreak, Reuters reported.

Published on May 11, 2020

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