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Why are you handling China with kid’s gloves Dr Tedros?

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic globally there have been allegations about the close relationship between the President of China Xi Jinping and Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – a relationship that has been cultivated and nurtured from the time Dr Tedros was a minister in Ethiopia.

There have also been insinuations that China lobbied vehemently for Dr Tedros to become the first African to hold the Director-General post of WHO.

Even according to German Intelligence (BND) China has even urged the World Health Organization to delay a global warning. On January 21, China’s head of state Xi Jinping during a phone call with WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus asked to withhold information about a person-to-person transmission and to postpone a pandemic warning. The WHO was silent for a week.

During the declaration of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on January 30, 2020, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organisation (WHO) had expressed that we would have seen many more cases outside China by now-and probably deaths – if it were not the government’s (referring to China) efforts and the progress they have made to protect their own people and the people of the world.

Dr Tedros further asserted that the vast majority of cases outside China have a travel history to Wuhan, or contact with someone with a travel history to Wuhan.

The question is raising is : If during the declaration of the PHEIC, WHO and its Director-General were confident of the efforts of China to contain the spread of the coronavirus, protect their own people and and the people of the world. Then can the World Health Organisation and its Director-General, Dr Tedros why has the global spread of the coronavirus pandemic has infected over 4 million people and led to the death of over 280,000 innocent people globally.

Secondly if WHO asserted that the vast majority of cases outside of China have a travel history to Wuhan, or contact with some with a travel history to Wuhan, why did WHO fail to impress upon China to restrict travel of people to and from Wuhan. In fact it opposed nations that put restrictions on travel to and from China.

Dr Tedros himself at the Global Media briefing on January 30th stated, “It (China) has already done incredible things to limit the transmission of the virus to other countries. And where respect is due, then you don’t punish. Meaning if anyone is thinking about taking measures, it’s going to be wrong. And WHO doesn’t recommend, and actually opposes, any restrictions for travel and trade or other measures against China.”

Dr Tedros had visited China on January 28th and after his return from China, PHEIC was declared on January 30th. China was haloed by Dr Tedros and WHO during the declaration of PHEIC. 

Dr Tedros expressed, “I think visiting China was a very important one, which is not a new one. Of course, I did it many times to other countries where there were outbreaks and so on. This one was special because I was able to learn many things from what China is doing. And I’m very confident by what they’re doing. I have seen the capacity, and I believe that they will control this outbreak as soon as possible. They have all the capacity that needs. 

But not only what they’re doing is protecting their people, but I know from the figures also, you know that it’s protecting the rest of the world. Outside China we only have 98 cases, and no deaths. If strong measures were not taken in China this would not have happened. And that’s why I also said we have to appreciate what China is doing. And this declaration, is not actually because China is not doing what it can. It’s actually doing more than China is required to do. “

The declaration of the PHEIC happened post Dr Tedros’s visit to China on January 28th.

China on January 14th reported to WHO that there was no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission and WHO claimed its posted China’s report as is on the social media platform Twitter without agreeing or disagreeing. This is after WHO representative Dr Maria Van Kerkhove publicly spoke on January 14th that there is a likelihood of human-to-human transmission at Global Media briefing. 

But on January 23rd at the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on novel coronavirus in China, Dr Tedros stated:

I’m not declaring a Public Health Emergency of International Concern today. As it was yesterday, the Emergency Committee was divided over whether the outbreak of novel coronavirus represents a PHEIC or not. Make no mistake, this is though an emergency in China. But it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one. 

WHO’s risk assessment is that the outbreak is very high risk in China, and high risk regionally and globally. 584 cases have now been reported to WHO, including 17 deaths. 575 of those cases and all of the deaths have been reported in China, with other cases reported in Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, The United States of America, and Vietnam. We’re aware of the media reports of suspected cases in other countries, but those cases are still being investigated. 

We know that there is human-to-human transmission in China, but for now it appears limited to family groups and health workers caring for infected patients. At this time, there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission outside China. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. There is still a lot we don’t know. We don’t know the source of this virus. We don’t understand how easily it spreads. And we don’t fully understand its clinical features or severity. 

Of course the decision to not declare PHEIC on Jan 23rd was joint decision of the IHR Emergency Committee and Dr Tedros. But could the decision of WHO to announce PHEIC on January 30th instead of January 23rd be because of the alleged phone call of the Chinese President Xi Jinping as revealed by German Intelligence (BND) in the report of Der Spiegel. This is now a matter of investigations.

The question is simple to the WHO: Why are you handling China with kid’s gloves, Dr Tedros?

Savio Rodrigues

Savio Rodrigues Founder & Editor-in-Chief

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