A report by the Associated Press has confirmed, if confirmation was needed, that China deliberately delayed the release of data on the novel coronavirus. Scientists all over the world believe that timely disclosure would have minimized the spread of Covid-19 and saved lakhs of lives.
“Throughout January, the World Health Organization publicly praised China for what it called a speedy response to the new coronavirus,” the report said (<a href="https://apnews.com/3c061794970661042b18d5aeaaed9fae">https://apnews.com/3c061794970661042b18d5aeaaed9fae</a>).
The reality was very different, and the WHO knew it. “Despite the plaudits, China in fact sat on releasing the genetic map, or genome, of the virus for more than a week after three different government labs had fully decoded the information. Tight controls on information and competition within the Chinese public health system were to blame, according to dozens of interviews and internal documents,” the AP report said.
WHO officials were lauding China in public because they wanted to coax more information out of the government, the recordings obtained by the AP suggest. “Privately, they complained in meetings the week of Jan. 6 that China was not sharing enough data to assess how effectively the virus spread between people or what risk it posed to the rest of the world, costing valuable time,” the AP report said.
This is a very benign comment on the WHO’s functioning. The report quoted the world body’s chief of emergencies, Dr. Michael Ryan, as saying at one of the meetings: “This would not happen in Congo and did not happen in Congo and other places.” He was probably referring to the Ebola outbreak that began there in 2018. “We need to see the data…..It’s absolutely important at this point.”
In other words, Congo, a small and poor country, need not be coaxed to get data from; it could even be coerced. China, however, was different, Ryan implied.
He is wrong. It was a few years ago in this century, and not in another, that China was forced to behave itself.
In November 2002, the Chinese government came to know of the first cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars). At that time, the WHO was headed by former prime minister of Norway, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland. She relied on the WHO’s local contacts and the nascent internet rather than on Beijing. At any rate, government officials never informed the WHO about the outbreak.
The gutsy lady had the courage to take on the Chinese government. She slammed it for withholding information. All bullies are cowards; Chinese Communist Party thugs are no exception, so they quickly complied. This saved China and the world from a pandemic, despite the fact that the virus had reached 26 countries. The death toll was below 1,000.
If there is one person who genuinely deserves the Nobel Prize for Peace, it is Brundtland.
That was then. Now the WHO is headed by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, China’s puppet. Not just that; much has changed in the last 18 years. It is not only the WHO that has been infested with Left-leaning bureaucrats; the entire public health establishment is dominated by such people.
All of them have a soft spot for communist China. This is the reason that WHO officials and other public health experts keep pandering to Beijing (<a href="https://indianarrative.com/opinion/left-liberals-are-washing-away-the-sins-of-china-who-1486.html">https://indianarrative.com/opinion/left-liberals-are-washing-away-the-sins-of-china-who-1486.html</a>). The AP has exposed them, even if it shies away from castigating them in the manner they deserve to be castigated.
It is time liberal democracies joined hands, took on China, and purged multilateral bodies of self-serving pinkish bureaucrats..