The director of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) announced Monday that the U.N. agency would send a team to China to investigate the origins of the deadly coronavirus, which originated in central Wuhan city.
In his announcement on next week’s visit, W.H.O. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is not a medical doctor, said, “knowing the source of this virus is very, very important.”
“We can find the virus better when we know everything about the virus, including how it started,” he added. “We will be sending a team next week to China to prepare for that.”
Tedros said he hopes the visit will provide a better “understanding [of] how the virus started and what we can do for the future to prepare.”
It is unclear what W.H.O. officials will find in China as Chinese officials have admitted to destroying early samples of the Wuhan coronavirus. Chinese National Health Commission official Liu Dengfeng claimed it was done to “prevent the risk to laboratory biological safety and prevent secondary disasters caused by unidentified pathogens.” After much time, it seems as though the W.H.O. is readily admitting to the virus’s origins in China.
The announcement comes amid months of accusations that Tedros had acted to protect China from international ire as evidence mounted that Communist Party officials had exacerbated the spread of the virus in Wuhan.
According to a report from the German newspaper Der Spiegel, dictator Xi Jinping personally asked Tedros to delay warnings about the Chinese coronavirus during a phone call.
The newspaper claimed, citing intelligence sources in the West, that evidence existed that Xi urged Tedros not to declare the outbreak a pandemic during the phone conversation, which the German newspaper said occurred on January 21. Xi also reportedly encouraged Tedros to not inform the world that the virus could be spread from person to person.
About a week before the conservation Der Spiegel alleged occurred, the W.H.O. insisted there was “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.” In reality, scientists have confirmed the virus is highly contagious through moisture particles in the air. Evidence exists that the W.H.O. had reason to believe it was contagious as early as December.
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🇳. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020
Taiwan claimed it attempted to warn the W.H.O. of the deadly implications of the coronavirus in December 2019 in a message to the organization, but W.H.O. officials ignored the country. Taiwan is not allowed to participate in the W.H.O. as China refuses to accept its sovereignty, forcing the U.N. to accept its worldview.
Taiwan, which has one of the lowest coronavirus transmission rates in the world, denounced the W.H.O. for ignoring its warnings, which led to an unsubstantiated claim from Tedros that Taiwan launched a racist campaign against him. Taiwan, which has fought strongly against the virus, has donated millions of face masks and thousands of pieces of diagnostic equipment to less fortunate countries.
In addition to its failed handling of the Taiwan warning, the W.H.O., for some time, did not deny Chinese propaganda that the virus originated in a U.S. Army facility in Fort Detrick, Maryland. The inaccurate claim was made in an editorial in the state-run Global Times.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Information Department spokesman Zhao Lijan also made a claim that the U.S. military created the virus and brought it to Wuhan, China, where the first samples of the virus were found.
While there is no evidence to suggest otherwise, the United Nations (U.N.) and W.H.O. have sided with Chinese propagandists in claiming that the coronavirus outbreak did not conclusively begin in Wuhan, China, according to Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.
“W.H.O. believes that we should avoid calling it ‘Chinese virus,'” Geng said. “Now is the moment for solidarity, for respecting facts and for fighting together.”