U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on several occasions criticized the World Health Organization (WHO) for being 'China-centric' and its failure to provide timely information Covid-19. The U.N. agency, which appreciated China's efforts of handling the Coronavirus outbreak for a long time, has updated its official COVID-19 timeline in what appears to be the Geneva-based organization is singing a different line.
The changed official COVID-19 timeline on WHO website now shows it clearly that Chinese authorities did not self-report the Coronavirus outbreak to the global agency, instead, the virus first came to the attention of WHO when their officials came across Chinese media reports about a "viral pneumonia" outbreak.
The Changed Timeline of Coronavirus
Earlier, the WHO's timeline claimed that on December 31, 2019, China's reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Hubei's Wuhan city, and a "novel coronavirus was eventually identified." Then WHO said in their website that "This statement is no longer maintained. An updated version was published on 29 June 2020."
The revised version claimed that WHO's country office in China picked up a media statement by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission from their website on cases of 'viral pneumonia.' Then the country office informed the International Health Regulations (IHR) focal point in the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office about the media statement by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission.
Later, the Epidemic Intelligence from Open Sources (EIOS), which is a unique collaboration between various public health stakeholders around the globe, picked up a media report on a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases (ProMED) about the infection cases in Wuhan, said WHO. It also added that meanwhile, several health authorities from around the world contacted the global agency, seeking additional information on the outbreak.
The new timeline of COVID-19 indicates that WHO made two separate requests to Chinese authorities for more information on the cluster of cases. They received a response from China three days later. But as per the initial timeline, China proactively notified WHO and it was also promoted by the Chinese state-run media for weeks.
The U.S. Representative Michael McCaul said, "I'm glad to see the WHO and the Chinese Communist Party have both read my interim report on the origins of the pandemic and are finally admitting to the world the truth—the CCP never reported the virus outbreak to the WHO in violation of WHO regulation."
The update of the Coronavirus timeline was made on Monday, June 29 more than two months after publishing the original timeline of the COVID-19 outbreak. On Tuesday, June 30 the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus marked six months since the world agency received the first reports of a cluster of cases of the pneumonia-like outbreak in China.
Changing Side in The Midst of Pandemic?
WHO raised its "highest level of alarm" on January 30 after Tedros held a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to China, and on January 31, it advised countries to keep their borders open despite the outbreak, although it noted that countries had the right to take measures to try to protect their citizens. Despite noticing the surge in cases all around the world, the WHO made the Novel Coronavirus a global pandemic only in March 2020.
Later, In April Trump tweeted stating, "The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China-centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately, I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?"
While speaking at 'The Jack Heath Radio Show' in May, US Secretary of State Pompeo accused the WHO of failing to provide information to the world in time about the risk of the Coronavirus outbreak in China that soon became pandemic within months.
By the end of May, the Trump administration decided to withdraw funding for the WHO since it didn't respond adequately to the pandemic because of China's "total control" over the U.N. agency. Trump said officials at Beijing "ignored" their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressurized the agency to mislead other countries and governing bodies when the Coronavirus was first discovered.