Beijing has effectively blocked the World Health Organisation(WHO) from investigating the origins of coronavirus. As per the internal documents accessed and reviewed by the New York Times, China has prevented the team sent by the premier health agency in February from conducting an independent probe of the matter to determine the source of the coronavirus pandemic.
The incriminating documents in possession of the Times revealed that not only the senior officials at the World Health Organisation negotiated the terms of investigations with China, sidelining their own experts, they also relinquished the control of the probe to Beijing. Neither was the team allowed to question China’s initial response to the coronavirus outbreak nor was it allowed to visit the live-animal market in Wuhan where the virus seemed to have originated.
China controls the essential part of the investigation into the origins of coronavirus
It has been over nine months and the investigation into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak has largely dragged, with little progress being made. On the surface, the probe is progressing. China has recently approved a list of outside investigators. But this is just an eyewash if documents accessed by the Times are to be believed. According to them, the key parts of the inquiry—the first patient of the coronavirus and the market’s role in the coronavirus outbreak—will be led by Chinese scientists. The secret documents show that WHO experts will review and “augment, rather than duplicate” studies carried out by Beijing.
Though WHO officials have been outwardly lavishing praises on China for its cooperation in helping the world agency tackle the coronavirus outbreak, they have complained privately that Beijing has not granted them full access to materials relevant to the probe which could help deter such pandemics in the future, as per reports.
The documents reveal that the modus operandi of covering up the coronavirus outbreak is starkly similar to how Beijing had kept the SARS outbreak hidden for months. However, once the Chinese officials had officially acknowledged it, they had soon allowed international teams to investigate the source. But this time around, China has been unforthcoming in sharing crucial details of the outbreak and has laid impediments in the way of international teams, preventing them from thoroughly carrying out the investigation.
Interview with 50 officials suggested that WHO has spectacularly failed in both of its endeavours—seeking cooperation from China to combat coronavirus—and getting access to information to determine the source of the virus. The details of the documents hint that the prospects of an impartial investigation into the coronavirus origination are diminishing. China has also been able to extract sizeable concessions from the WHO that has helped the country in delaying important research work and afforded the country to do away with the potentially mortifying assessment of its bungled initial response.
Latest revelations vindicate accusations of WHO-China partnership in covering up the coronavirus pandemic
The latest revelations made through the internal documents accessed by the Times only vindicates the stand taken by many against the World Health Organisation as to being too deferential to China in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Some of them had even accused the WHO of being in cahoots with China to cover up the rampaging coronavirus while others had accused the WHO chief Tedros Adhanom of taking whatever Beijing said on face value.
WHO had declared the Wuhan coronavirus, which emerged from China and swiftly spread to other parts of the world, a pandemic only on March 11. According to a US-based publication The Hill, critics are raising questions as to why, despite repeated warnings from many experts, health officials and governments of various countries, did the World Health Organisation take so long to declare the deadly disease a pandemic.
According to the report published in The Hill earlier this year, it was alleged that Tedros, the WHO chief, not only turned a blind eye to what happened in Wuhan but also, after meeting with Xi in January, helped China to play down the severity, prevalence and the amplitude of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak. It is also being alleged that the WHO Director-General defended China despite its gross mismanagement of the highly contagious disease.
American President Donald Trump had accused the WHO of being the “puppet of China” and had pulled the rug out for its contradictory and delayed handling of the coronavirus outbreak. The US Health Secretary Alex Azar had also lambasted against the premier health organisation, noting that the agency had failed in obtaining the critical information that the world needed.
The WHO’s blanket whitewashing of China’s complicity and its misleading decisions have been criticised widely by many experts around the world.