China delayed the provision of important information to the World Health Organization (WHO) in January this year. It is reported by the Associated Press with reference to its own data.
The agency records a WHO internal conversation that said that Chinese government laboratories released the genome only after another laboratory published it on January 11 on the virology website.
“And even then, China was in no hurry for at least two weeks to provide detailed information to WHO on the condition of patients and cases of infection,” the agency notes. In addition, at one of the meetings, American epidemiologist Maria van Kerkkhov announced that there was a lack of information about the outbreak of coronavirus for careful planning of further actions.
At another meeting, Goudin Galea, who represents WHO in China, said the organization received information about coronavirus 15 minutes before it appeared on a Chinese television channel. In his opinion, specialists should receive such information much earlier.
At the same time, it is indicated that in official statements, the organization thanked China for the quick response to the outbreak of coronavirus, as well as for “immediate provision of the virus genome.” According to the agency, officials at WHO probably publicly praised China because they wanted more information from the country’s leadership. At the same time, the organization’s experts sincerely believed that Chinese scientists did a great job of decoding the genome.
It is also noted that during meetings in January, WHO staff discussed how to “click on China” to obtain detailed information about patients and not cause anger among the country’s leadership.
In early May, the Associated Press, citing documents from the US Department of Homeland Security, reported that U.S. intelligence found the reason for hiding data on coronavirus in China. According to the United States, Beijing did this in order to have time to accumulate the necessary medicines for the treatment of patients.