A recent report by the Centra Intelligence Agency (CIA) titled “U.N.-China: WHO Mindful But Not Beholden to China,” claims that in January after it was clear the novel coronavirus epidemic that began in Wuhan was becoming a pandemic, the Chinese government began stockpiling medical supplies from other countries, pressuring the World Health Organization (WHO) to delay declaring a global health emergency in order to facilitate stockpiling. The CIA report also claimed that the Chinese government threatened to stop cooperating with the World Health Organization (WHO) if the UN organization responsible for handling pandemics.
Der Spiegel reported that German intelligence produced a report confirming the CIA report, noting that due to Chinese threats, the WHO delayed the issuing of a global emergency. The Chinese influence came in the form of a phone call from Chinese President Xi Jinping to WHO General Director Tedros Adhanom on January 21. Associated Press reported on May 1 that “Beijing imported 2.5 billion pieces of epidemic personal protective equipment (PPE)—which included more than two billion masks—during a six-week period starting mid-January”.
The WHO declared a global health emergency on January 30. The first cases appeared in Wuhan, China on November 23. It is interesting to note that the initial report in The Lancet published by a Chinese doctor on January 24 negated any connection between the coronavirus and the Wuhan wet market. The first warnings by the Chinese government to its citizens and the WHO concerning the outbreak of the still-unnamed epidemic came at the end of December. On January 3, the Chinese government formally notified the U.S. government. At this point, the Chinese government was not responding to requests by the WHO and other governments for information. Reports of the infections in the middle of January indicated that the virus was being spread by contact between humans. The first case in the U.S. was discovered on January 20.
On January 21, the same day as the alleged phone call between the Chinese president and the director o the WHO, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, part of the China Academy of Sciences, applied for the “use patent” for Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir to treat the current coronavirus outbreak. Remdesivir is currently being tested as the only specific treatment for COVID-19, and has been authorized for emergency use in the U.S. and approved for use in Japan for people with severe symptoms.
On January 22, Zhou Xianwang, the mayor of Wuhan, admitted that his team had not released information about the virus in a “timely” manner, resulting in over 5 million people traveling out of the city before Wuhan was placed in quarantine. Zhou indicated that Wuhan needed authorization from above before they could make any announcement regarding the virus. At this time, cases of COVID-19 were being reported in many countries.
The WHO voted twice, on January 22 and 23, on whether to declare the coronavirus as a global health emergency, but came to a decision only a week later.
The WHO issued a statement on May 9 denying the report in Der Spiegel, calling the report “unfounded” and “untrue.” The WHO said, “Dr. Tedros and President Xi did not speak on 21 January and they have never spoken by telephone.”
The WHO responded to Newsweek, who first broke the story.
“Dr Tedros did not communicate with President Xi on Jan 20, 21 or 22. Dr. Tedros and his senior team met with President Xi in Beijing on Jan. 28,” WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier told Newsweek. “The issue of PHEIC did not come up in that meeting.”