News and Commentary

Report: WHO Won’t Reveal Which Doctors Blocked Declaring Coronavirus A Public Health Emergency
Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with visiting World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 28, 2020.
Ju Peng/Xinhua via Getty Images

According to Sky News Australia, a group of physicians from the World Health Organization (WHO) wanted to declare the coronavirus a global emergency in late January and urge harsh travel restrictions but they were outvoted, paving the way instead for a statement praising China and a recommendation for countries not to ban travel to China. Sky News said it asked the World Health Organization which doctors had blocked the emergency declaration, but they were rebuffed.

Sky News said WHO spokesman Tarik Jašarević told the media outlet, “As for your question on voting at the EC: members are independent experts and rules of procedure do not allow us to disclose that. Important to note that what happened between two meetings was the evidence of human to human transmission outside China.”

WHO parroted the Communist Chinese government’s reporting on the coronavirus in mid-January, tweeting, “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.”

The Wall Street Journal reported, “On Jan. 22-23 a WHO emergency committee debated whether to declare Covid-19 a ‘public health emergency of international concern.’”

WHO wrote on January 30, “The Committee does not recommend any travel or trade restriction based on the current information available.” It also issued this gushing statement praising China:

The Committee welcomed the leadership and political commitment of the very highest levels of Chinese government, their commitment to transparency, and the efforts made to investigate and contain the current outbreak. China quickly identified the virus and shared its sequence, so that other countries could diagnose it quickly and protect themselves, which has resulted in the rapid development of diagnostic tools.

The very strong measures the country has taken include daily contact with WHO and comprehensive multi-sectoral approaches to prevent further spread. It has also taken public health measures in other cities and provinces; is conducting studies on the severity and transmissibility of the virus, and sharing data and biological material. The country has also agreed to work with other countries who need their support. The measures China has taken are good not only for that country but also for the rest of the world.

After meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping on January 28, WHO director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus stated on January 30, “The Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken. I left in absolutely no doubt about China’s commitment to transparency.”

On Tuesday, as The Daily Wire reported, President Donald Trump announced that the administration was looking at freezing funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, asserting, “The W.H.O., that’s the World Health Organization, receives vast amounts of money from the United States and we pay for a majority — the biggest portion of their money. They actually criticized and disagreed with my travel ban at the time I did it, and they were wrong. They have been wrong about a lot of things. They had a lot of information early and they did not want to divert [from being] very China-centric.”

He continued, “We have to look into that. So, we’re going to look into it. We pay for the majority of the money that they get. We want to look at the World Health Organization, because they really are — they called it wrong. They called it wrong. They missed the call. They could have called it months earlier, they would have known. And they should have known. And they probably did know … So we will be looking into that very carefully. And we will put a hold on money spent to the W.H.O. We’re going to put a very powerful hold on it, and we’re going to see. It is a great thing if it works, but when they call every shot wrong, that is no good.”

In an op-ed, The Wall Street Journal asked, “Why does WHO seem so much more afraid of Beijing’s ire than Washington’s? Only 12% of WHO’s assessed member-state contributions come from China. The U.S. contributes 22%. Americans at WHO generally are loyal to the institution, while Chinese appointees put Chinese interests first or they will suffer Beijing’s wrath.”