Virus alert given by our office, not China

Clay Curtis
July 4, 2020

"The Country Office notified the International Health Regulations (IHR) focal point in the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office about the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission media statement of the cases and provided a translation of it", the organisation said in a statement.

This timeline supersedes the timeline statement published in April 2020.

"I think it's quite widespread", Soumya Swaminathan, WHO chief scientist, told Reuters on the sidelines of a briefing held by the United Nations journalists' association ACANU in Geneva.

According to the American weekly news magazine The Washington Examiner, WHO changed the official timeline on their website removing the information about China reporting "a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan". The organisation said that it was alerted about the Covid-19 crisis by its own office in China and not by Beijing.

The timeline has been changed and now reads: "WHO's Country Office in the People's Republic of China picked up a media statement by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission from their website on cases of "viral pneumonia" in Wuhan, People's Republic of China" on December 31.

The initial timeline on WHO's website stated that on December 31 the "Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, China, reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei Province".

After which, World Health Organization asked the Chinese authorities on two occasions, on January 1 and January 2, for information about these cases, which they provided on January 3.

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On Jan. 12, the World Health Organization tweeted: "Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China".

US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also earlier said that the virus might have originated in a laboratory in China. The country had contributed $400 million (approximately Rs 3,040 crore) to the organisation a year ago - almost 15% of its entire budget.

The Trump administration has cut funding to the EcoHealth Alliance, one of the few worldwide groups working with Chinese researchers to better understand coronaviruses.

Dr Ghebreyesus said countries that have adopted this comprehensive approach have suppressed transmission and saved lives.

The Solidarity Trial started out in five parts looking at potential treatment for the coronavirus: standard care; remdesivir; the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine; the HIV drugs lopinavir/ritonavir; and lopanivir/ritonavir combined with interferon.

"We expect interim results within the next two weeks".

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