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Open Letter to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Dr Tedros is not a man of health but a politician tutored by China

In the world of truth. There are no colors or shades. There is only the truth.

The truth is that Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had been derelict in his duty as the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) at the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic which the world is still reeling under.

The Coronavirus pandemic has claimed 2.8 million lives globally so far. Millions continue to suffer due to health or economic concerns caused by the altered daily functioning of life due to lockdowns and restricted contact with other people.

Global leaders might gloss over the death of millions due to COVID-19 as a mere statistic. There are millions of families whose lives have been drastically redrawn due to the pandemic.

As a journalist, I have been researching and trying to understand the different complexities of global crisis management by nations and organizations in the forefront like WHO during such a pandemic. I particularly spent a considerable amount of time delving into the Director-General of WHO.

In my personal and informed opinion, Dr. Tedros is a man of questionable character and a man with no integrity. He is not a man of health but a politician.

Getting to know that Dr. Tedros will be one of the speakers on World Health Day at ‘Changing Paradigms in a Pandemic World: How to regain trust? Health, Happiness & Ethics’ organized by the World Forum for Ethics in Business – an organization founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has struck me with immense disappointment.

I admire the work of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and I have great respect for his leadership and his nature. He is a wonderful person. Therefore, I question, this decision to have a questionable man like Dr. Tedros as a speaker. He is a man with no integrity. His dereliction of duty at a time when the world reeled under the pandemic is truth staring us all in the face.

He is not a man of health but a politician. As DG of WHO, he focused more on the cure rather than the prevention and detection.

It is a known fact in the global geopolitical circles that Dr. Tedros shares a more than cordial relationship with China reportedly the known source of the outbreak according to the WHO recent report:

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) investigative report ‘Origins of SARS-Cov-2’ states that the seafood market in Wuhan City was the source of this Coronavirus outbreak or played a role in the initial amplification of the outbreak.

Speaking on the report, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO said, “The team has confirmed that there was widespread contamination with SARS-CoV-2 in the Huanan market in Wuhan, but could not determine the source of this contamination.”

A report, ‘The WHO and China: Dereliction of Duty by the Centre for Foreign Relations’ stated, “In contrast to his effusive praise for China, Tedros has been quick to criticize other countries for their responses to the outbreak. He called upon nations not to limit travel with China and warned against the “recrimination or politicization” of the outbreak. Domestic Chinese news coverage prominently features Tedros’ praise of Xi Jinping and criticism of foreign governments.”

The report further stated, “China was also an important ally of Tedros in the WHO’s DG election in 2017. Months before the election, Tedros was invited to speak at Peking University where he called for stronger cooperation between China and the Global South on health issues. China’s support for Tedros paid off immediately.”

In a scathing remark Centre for Foreign Relations stated: “The WHO’s weak response to China’s mishandling of the COVID-19 outbreak has laundered China’s image at the expense of the WHO’s credibility. The rate of infection in China appears to be declining, but the risk of a global pandemic is increasing. The time is ripe for clear leadership from the WHO based on science, not politics.”

In fact, at the onset of the pandemic, Dr Tedros made a statement during a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, in response to a question referring to comments made by John MacKenzie, emeritus professor at Curtin University in Australia, and a member of the emergency committee of the International Health Regulations advising the WHO chief on the 2019-nCoV outbreak:

“I cannot say they hid or they didn’t. If something was hidden, the world would have witnessed more cases spilling outside its borders, given how connected China is to the rest of the world. But the number of cases outside China is “very small,” you said.

“Even if China hides it, I don’t think the cases would be prevented from crossing the borders to other countries. So it really defeats the logic.” 

I wonder if Dr Tedros shares similar views now on China after 2.8 million lives lost so far.

In fact, WHO on the instructions of the Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has altered the COVID-19 Timelines it had officially published on its website on April 27, 2020, on June 30, 2020.

In its COVID-19 Timeline published on April 27, 2020, WHO stated the following:

31 Dec 2019

Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, China, reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei Province. A novel coronavirus was eventually identified.

1 January 2020

WHO had set up the IMST (Incident Management Support Team) across the three levels of the organization: headquarters, regional headquarters and country level, putting the organization on an emergency footing for dealing with the outbreak.

4  January 2020

WHO reported on social media that there was a cluster of pneumonia cases – with no deaths – in Wuhan, Hubei province. 

5 January 2020

WHO published our first Disease Outbreak News on the new virus. This is a flagship technical publication to the scientific and public health community as well as global media. It contained a risk assessment and advice, and reported on what China had told the organization about the status of patients and the public health response on the cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan.

In its COVID-19 Timeline published on June 30, 2020, WHO altered the data and stated the following:

31 Dec 2019

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.

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.

WHO’s Epidemic Intelligence from Open Sources (EIOS) platform also picked up a media report on ProMED (a programme of the International Society for Infectious Diseases) about the same cluster of cases of “pneumonia of unknown cause” in Wuhan.

Several health authorities from around the world contacted WHO seeking additional information.

1 January 2020

WHO requested information on the reported cluster of atypical pneumonia cases in Wuhan from the Chinese authorities.

WHO activated its Incident Management Support Team (IMST), as part of its emergency response framework, which ensures coordination of activities and response across the three levels of WHO (Headquarters, Regional, Country) for public health emergencies.

2 January 2020

The WHO Representative in China wrote to the National Health Commission, offering WHO support and repeating the request for further information on the cluster of cases.

WHO informed Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) partners about the cluster of pneumonia cases in the People’s Republic of China. GOARN partners include major public health agencies, laboratories, sister UN agencies, international organizations and NGOs.

3 January 2020

Chinese officials provided information to WHO on the cluster of cases of ‘viral pneumonia of unknown cause’ identified in Wuhan. 

4  January 2020

WHO tweeted that there was a cluster of pneumonia cases – with no deaths – in Wuhan, Hubei province, People’s Republic of China, and that investigations to identify the cause were underway.  

5 January 2020

WHO shared detailed information about a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause through the IHR (2005) Event Information System, which is accessible to all Member States. The event notice provided information on the cases and advised Member States to take precautions to reduce the risk of acute respiratory infections.  

WHO also issued its first Disease Outbreak News report. This is a public, web-based platform for the publication of technical information addressed to the scientific and public health communities, as well as global media. The report contained information about the number of cases and their clinical status; details about the Wuhan national authority’s response measures; and WHO’s risk assessment and advice on public health measures. It advised that “WHO’s recommendations on public health measures and surveillance of influenza and severe acute respiratory infections still apply”.

Now after one year WHO has come out with a report of the Origin of the Coronavirus stating:

“As soon as the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in late December 2019, investigations were conducted to understand the epidemiology of COVID-19 and the original source of the outbreak. A large proportion of the initial cases in late December 2019 and early January 2020 had a direct link to the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market in Wuhan City, where seafood, wild, and farmed animal species were sold. Many of the initial patients were either stall owners, market employees, or regular visitors to this market. Environmental samples taken from this market in December 2019 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, further suggesting that the market in Wuhan City was the source of this outbreak or played a role in the initial amplification of the outbreak. The market was closed on 1 January 2020 and was cleaned and disinfected. The virus could have been introduced into the human population from an animal source in the market or an infected human could have introduced the virus to the market and the virus may have then been amplified in the market environment

Subsequent investigations into the first human cases have determined that they had onset of symptoms around 1 December 2019. However, these cases had no direct link to the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market and they may therefore have been infected in November through contact with earlier undetected cases (incubation time between the date of exposure and date of symptom onset can be up to 14 days). Additional studies are ongoing to as whether unrecognized infections in humans may have happened as early as mid-November 2019.”

If the topic at the WFEB is about ‘Regaining Trust’, then trust is the one thing this world cannot have of Dr. Tedros. He has lied at different stages of crisis management and he has lied because he is a politician and not a man of health. If he was a man of health, he would have had a conscience, we do not expect conscience in a politician.

It is a huge disappointment that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar plans to share a platform with Dr. Tedros. I am sure some of his followers will try to reason out with me that ‘Gurudev’ has his own ways of looking at issues. He treats everyone equally. That however is the wonderful aspect of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

I am sure that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar does have his own views and I respect that. But I have my own views and in my view, there is no shade to the truth. Truth is truth. Dr. Tedros is not a man of health but a politician. He will be a virus at WFEB. It is better to prevent than later seek a cure.

My simple and earnest message to Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

The beauty of truth is that it has no color. It is what it is. I do not claim to know your mind and neither am I judging your decision to share a stage with Dr. Tedros. I am simply stating that when people are in a position to alter a tragic destiny but derelict in their duty for compulsions known to them, then they cannot be accorded respect as saviours of humanities and become architects of future challenges on global pandemics. The sad part is that not one global leader of voice and standing has stood up and called out the failure of Dr Tedros, except Donald Trump. And today you give this man a platform to talk about regaining trust and dealing with a global pandemic when he has not given an answer to the world for his failures at DG of the WHO in preventing the spread of the pandemic. 

I too look for the good in people. But good is based on the good actions of people. I cannot support a man whose principles conflict with the basic principles of humanity. I do not hate Dr Tedros or China. I am merely seeking accountability for the lives of 2.8 million innocent people who died because someone in a position of power failed to prevent it and spent more time working on raising money for the cure.

2.8 million people died. And we just sleep quietly because it is not our family and as though no one cares.

 

 

 

 

Savio Rodrigues

Savio Rodrigues Founder & Editor-in-Chief GoaChronicle.com
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