Coronavirus in Wuhan, China Photograph:( Reuters )
Audio recordings of internal WHO meetings show that even while the WHO praised China's response in public, officials were complaining privately over not getting the information they needed to fight the spread of the deadly virus.
China’s silence in the earliest days of the coronavirus crisis had made it worse for the whole world. And still, China is making it harder for the world to solve the mystery around the origins of the Wuhan virus.
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According to news reports, Audio recordings of internal WHO meetings show that even while the WHO praised China's response in public, officials were complaining privately over not getting the information they needed to fight the spread of the deadly virus.
The recordings obtained suggest that the WHO officials were lauding China in public because they wanted to coax more information out of the government.
Xi Jinping Government also held off on releasing the genome of the virus for more than a week after three different government labs had fully decoded the information, slowing recognition that the virus was spreading.
"General, 'there's been no evidence of human-to-human transmission' is not good enough," WHO executive director Michael Ryan said in one of the recordings.
"We need to see the data, we need to be able to determine for ourselves the geographic distribution, the timeline, the epi curve and all of that."
US Department of Homeland Security report dated May 1, 2020, had also stated that Chinese leaders "intentionally concealed the severity" of the pandemic from the world in early January last year.
Other reports also state that, while downplaying the severity of the coronavirus, China increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies.
Meanwhile, an international team of WHO-led scientists arrived in Wuhan last week to research the animal origins of the pandemic after months of political wrangling to secure China’s approval for the probe.
(With inputs from agencies)