In a U-Turn of sorts, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that its office in China reported first about COVID-19 and not the Chinese Government. A few weeks ago though, WHO had stated that China had first alerted about COVID-19.
On April 9th, WHO had published the timeline of its communications. The statement said that a few cases of pneumonia were reported in the Wuhan municipal health commission in the province of Hubei on December 31. However, they had not specified the source of the information.
In the latest chronology that has been published, WHO said that it was its office in China that on December 31 notified its regional point of contact of a case of “viral pneumonia” after having found a declaration for the media on a Wuhan health commission website on the issue. The Geneva-based organization then asked regarding the matter to Chinese officials on January 1st and 2nd. The Chinese Government replied on January 3rd.
WHO has been at the center of criticism for its slow response to the pandemic, and also for its apparent closeness to China. The United States, which is the major financial contributor to the organization, has already announced that it will cut all its ties with the UN-based organization.
Meanwhile, the agency has said that it is important that the globe puts up a fight now rather than focusing on the second wave of the pandemic. WHO officials emphasized mask-wearing, social distancing, and hygiene by individuals, along with contact-tracing and tracking of cases by health authorities as key strategies to fight the virus.
Source: Free Press Journal