GENEVA: China did not come forward on its own to report to the World Health Organization (WHO) that it had a problem in Wuhan following the virus outbreak late last year, according to the updated information the UN health agency posted about how it has handled the COVID-19 crisis so far.
On December 31, 2019, the WHO’s Country Office in China picked up a media statement by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission from their website on cases of “viral pneumonia” in Wuhan, according to the chronology of events enumerated by the WHO.
On January 1, the WHO requested information on the reported cluster of atypical pneumonia cases in Wuhan from the Chinese authorities.
On January 2, the WHO representative in China wrote to the National Health Commission, offering WHO support and repeating the request for further information on the cluster of cases.
According to the WHO, Chinese officials provided information to it on the cluster of cases of “viral pneumonia of unknown cause” identified in Wuhan only on January 3.
The updated timeline of WHO’s response to COVID-19 posted this week covers events up to June 26.
This timeline supersedes the timeline statement published in April 2020.
US President Donald Trump had earlier accused the WHO of being lenient on China. Trump also suggested that the virus might have originated in a laboratory in China. However, he did not present any evidence to back up the claims.
The UN health body in a media briefing earlier this week said that it would send a team to China next week to prepare to investigate the source of the virus responsible for COVID-19 which has so far killed over 525,000 people worldwide.