The World Well being Group has up to date its account of the early levels of the Covid disaster to say it was alerted by its personal workplace in China, and never by China itself, to the primary pneumonia instances in Wuhan.
The UN well being physique has been accused by US President Donald Trump of failing to supply the knowledge wanted to stem the pandemic and of being complacent in the direction of Beijing, expenses it denies.
On April 9, WHO printed an preliminary timeline of its communications, partly in response to criticism of its early response to the outbreak that has now claimed greater than 521,000 lives worldwide.
In that chronology, WHO had mentioned solely that the Wuhan municipal well being fee within the province of Hubei had on December 31 reported instances of pneumonia. The UN well being company didn’t nevertheless specify who had notified it.
WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus informed a press convention on April 20 the primary report had come from China, with out specifying whether or not the report had been despatched by Chinese language authorities or one other supply.
However a brand new chronology, printed this week by the Geneva-based establishment, presents a extra detailed model of occasions.
It signifies that it was the WHO workplace in China that on December 31 notified its regional level of contact of a case of “viral pneumonia” after having discovered a declaration for the media on a Wuhan well being fee web site on the problem.
The identical day, WHO’s epidemic info service picked up one other information report transmitted by the worldwide epidemiological surveillance community ProMed — based mostly in the US — about the identical group of instances of pneumonia from unknown causes in Wuhan.
After which, WHO requested the Chinese language authorities on two events, on January 1 and January 2, for details about these instances, which they supplied on January 3.
WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan informed a press convention on Friday that international locations have 24-48 hours to formally confirm an occasion and supply the company with extra details about the character or explanation for an occasion.
Ryan added that the Chinese language authorities instantly contacted WHO’s as quickly because the company requested to confirm the report.
US President Donald Trump has introduced that his nation, the primary monetary contributor to WHO, will reduce its bridges with the establishment, which he accuses of being too near China and of getting poorly managed the pandemic.
The WHO denies any complacency towards China.