Denying a media report that claimed Chinese President Xi Jinping had in January requested World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom to ‘delay a global warning’ regarding coronavirus outbreak, termed the claims “unfounded and untrue.”
According to Der Spiegel, a German news outlet, ‘Bundesnachrichtendienst’ (BND) – Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service had claimed that China “urged” the global health agency to “delay a global warning” about the coronavirus outbreak.
As per the intelligence, Xi and Tedros had a call on January 21 during which the Chinese President asked WHO chief to “hold back information about a human-to-human transmission and to delay a pandemic warning.”
“The BND estimates that China’s information policy lost four to six weeks to fight the virus worldwide,” the report said.
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In a series of tweets on Saturday (May 9), the WHO clarified that Tedros and Xi never spoke on phone and said the “inaccurate reports distract and detract WHO’S and the World’s efforts to end COVID-19”.
Statement on False Allegations in @derspiegel: Reports of a 21 Jan phone call between @DrTedros & 🇨🇳 President Xi are unfounded & untrue. They didn’t speak on 21 Jan & have never spoken by 📞
Such inaccurate reports distract & detract from WHO’s & the 🌍’s efforts to end #COVID19
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) May 9, 2020
The organisation also noted that China ad on January 20 confirmed human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus following which WHO publicly declared the same on January 22.
Coronavirus was declared a pandemic in March.
Earlier, US President Donald Trump too had accused the WHO of siding with China and said the organisation was a tool of ‘Chinese propaganda’. Following the allegation he also stopped the aid to the organisation.
An investigation has also been launched into the WHO’s role in the spread of COVID-19.