Given the previous behavior of the World Health Organization, many people are inclined to believe the BND.
This weekend, Der Spiegel, a German news outlet, published a report claiming that the German Intelligence Service discovered that Director of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, conducted a phone call with Chinese ‘President’ Xi Jinping, and was pressured to conceal the truth about the Wuhan outbreak on Jan 21.
Tedros and WHO have denied the intelligence report, claiming that China “urged” the WHO to “delay a global warning” about the coronavirus outbreak.
Specifically, Der Spiegel‘s report said the BND determined Xi and Tedros spoke by phone on Jan. 21 and the Chinese leader asked the WHO chief to “hold back information about a human-to-human transmission and to delay a pandemic warning.”
The newspaper said the BND “estimates” that China’s policy of concealing information about the coronavirus resulted in four to six lost weeks in the fight against the virus worldwide.
The WHO released a statement on Saturday denying the thrust of the article.
“Der Spiegel reports of a January 21, 2020, telephone conversation between Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and President Xi Jingping of China are unfounded and untrue,” the WHO said. “Dr Tedros and President Xi did not speak on Jan. 21 and they have never spoken by phone. Such inaccurate reports distract and detract from WHO’s and the world’s efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic.”
[Many people point out that phone call records are easy to check, so why hasn’t anyone provided the evidence of a call, if it did occur.]
The WHO noted on Saturday that “China confirmed human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus on Jan. 20.” The WHO publicly declared on Jan. 22 that “data collected … suggests that human-to-human transmission is taking place in Wuhan.”
The WHO did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner’s questions about whether any Chinese representatives had ever pressured the WHO to delay any of its coronavirus pronouncements.
Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the GOP’s ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Chairman of the House’s China Task Force, told the Washington Examiner that “we are still working to confirm this reporting, but if it turns out to be true, it’s further proof Director-General Tedros conspired with the Chinese Communist Party in their cover up and is not fit to lead the WHO.”
There is well-documented evidence that China tried to cover up the spread of the coronavirus, muzzle whistleblowers, intimidate doctors, mislead the WHO, and block outside health experts. At least one study indicated that if the Chinese government had acted more quickly, the coronavirus’s global spread would have been greatly reduced.
Reports show Chinese doctors knew around late December and early January that human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus was almost certainly occurring, and the Chinese government silenced medical professionals who attempted to go public. Yet the WHO tweeted on Jan. 14 that “preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.”
On Jan. 22, the WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee met and they “expressed divergent views” on whether the coronavirus outbreak was a public health event of international concern (or PHEIC) and said it “did not constitute a PHEIC” at the time. Tedros was reportedly the deciding vote. Tedros said “at this time there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission outside China” and “it has not yet become a global health emergency.”
Tedros praised China’s response after a meeting with President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Jan. 28.
“Stopping the spread of this virus both in China and globally is WHO’s highest priority,” Tedros said. “We appreciate the seriousness with which China is taking this outbreak, especially the commitment from top leadership, and the transparency they have demonstrated, including sharing data and genetic sequence of the virus.”
Two days later, Tedros praised the Chinese government again, saying it was “to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak.”
“We would have seen many more cases outside China by now — and probably deaths — if it were not for the government’s efforts, and the progress they have made to protect their own people and the people of the world,” Tedros said.
The WHO chief said China’s “commitment to transparency” was “very impressive” and “beyond words.”
On Jan. 30, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee met again and “agreed that the outbreak now meets the criteria” for a PHEIC.
The WHO did not declare the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic until March 11.
The U.S. intelligence community reportedly believes the Chinese Communist Party downplayed the severity of the initial coronavirus outbreak and that China continues to mislead about the infection rate and death toll inside the country. Beijing has denied orchestrating a cover-up of its coronavirus response.