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WATCH: WHO Official: ‘We Don’t Believe’ China Withheld Information On Coronavirus
Candidate to the post of Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) David Nabarro gestures during a press conference on January 26, 2017 in Geneva.
Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

On Sunday, David Nabarro, special envoy from the World Health Organization (WHO), insisted, “We don’t believe” that China withheld information regarding the coronavirus. Nabarro, who also serves as Senior U.N. System Coordinator for Avian and Pandemic Influenza, told “Meet The Press” host  Chuck Todd, “We are trying to be clear to everybody that we have been given access to the information we requested. So therefore I don’t like at any time to say, ‘We don’t believe.’” Nabarro also said, “We need a strong WHO, a trusted WHO.”

Todd prompted Nabarro by saying, “Let me ask you this: The American president, Donald Trump, our president here, does not believe the WHO has acted on the up and up, in particular when it comes to interpreting data or dealing with China. Address that critique.”

Nabarro replied:

The World Health Organization actually works on behalf of all the governments in the world. It operates within mandates that are given to it and we have to rely on information that’s received from different governments; that then permits us to work out what’s going on. We believe that we had the best information coming to us that can come under the current circumstances and that all recommendations and decisions have been made on behalf of that, but we know there will be many things that are found to, perhaps, not been done as well as they could have been done, and we’re anticipating there’ll be lots of examinations afterwards.

He continued, “Now we have to move forward; we have to get the best possible cooperation. I just heard you discussing with the head of the FDA, the challenges, the things that we’re learning about this virus all the time. That’s why we need a strong WHO, a trusted WHO. We hope that all leaders will continue to work with us in that way.”

Todd asked, “You used an interesting phrase here: ‘The best information you can get under current circumstances.’ That seems to be a hint that certain governments are more transparent than other governments. Do you believe China’s been honest about the damage that’s been done in this country, number one, and number two, if they haven’t been honest about that, are you confident they’ve been honest about the science?”

Nabarro answered, “So at first, we really did have to work with the information we get. We don’t have in the World Health Organization the power to go and inspect beyond what countries tell us. That’s been made clear in the treaty that governments agreed in 2005 on how nations work together and how the W.H.O. operates. But I say this, that they did invite a team pulled together by the World Health Organization to come and inspect everything in mid-February. There were no restrictions on what that team investigated. It included American experts as well as experts from others in the world. So we are trying to be clear to everybody that we have been given access to the information we requested. So therefore I don’t like at any time to say, ‘We don’t believe.’ We believe what we’ve got; we work with what we’ve got; that’s how we operate in the World Health Organization.”

In mid-February, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) told Fox News that China’s communist government had repeatedly lied about the coronavirus, asserting, “the situation is very grave, in part because, as you say, China was lying from the beginning, and they’re still lying today, and also because there are so many unknowns about this virus, for example, how many people one person can infect once they have the virus, the extent to which it’s contagious before one is symptomatic, or the mortality rate.”

Video below:

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