World

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

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu Business Line editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.