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Wuhan, in China, became the epicentre of COVID-19 back in November and since the outbreak, the world has been placed on lockdown in order to prevent the spreading of the virus. But new documents have revealed China delayed releasing information.
According to documents and recordings from WHO meetings obtained by the Associated Press, the Communist nation waited more than a week before publishing the genome of the virus on January 11.
This is despite the fact around three different government labs had sequenced the genetic code successfully.
The news agency reported: “Tight controls on information and competition within the Chinese public health system were to blame, according to dozens of interviews and internal documents.
“WHO staffers debated how to press China for gene sequences and detailed patient data without angering authorities, worried about losing access and getting Chinese scientists into trouble.”
For weeks afterwards, China delayed providing the WHO will detailed data on patients and cases, the recordings revealed.
This made it difficult for officials to judge how the virus can spread between people and what the potential risk for the rest of the world.
One WHO official complained and said: “We’re going on very minimal information.
“It’s clearly not enough for you to do proper planning.”
Despite the leaked recordings, the Chinese government has repeatedly argued they acted transparently and have “continuously shared information” with the WHO.
Liu Mingzhu, an official with the National Health Commission’s International Department, said last month: “Since the beginning of the outbreak, we have been continuously sharing information on the epidemic with the WHO, and the international community in an open, transparent and responsible manner.”
The WHO also issued a statement saying: “Our leadership and staff have worked night and day in compliance with the organisation’s rules and regulations to support and share information with all member states equally, and engage in frank and forthright conversations with governments at all levels.”
Back in January, officials compared China’s lack of cooperation with other countries and demanded to see data on the deadly virus.
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Dr Michael Ryan, WHO’s chief of emergencies, said: “This would not happen in Congo and did not happen in Congo and other places.
“We need to see the data.
“It’s absolutely important at this point.”
Last month, US President Donald Trump lashed out at the WHO claiming their handling of the pandemic was “disastrous”.
He criticised the WHO for being “China-centric” and said they “missed every single call”.
The 73-year-old told Fox News: “The World Health Organisation has been a disaster. Everything they said was wrong and they’re China-centric.
“All they do is agree with China, whatever China wants to do. So our country, perhaps foolishly in retrospect has been paying $450million a year to the World Health Organisation and China’s been paying $38million a year but they were more political than all of our leaders previously.
“What they did, what World Health did, was they missed every single call and we’re not going to put up with it.”
The relationship between Washington and the WHO has been tainted throughout the pandemic with Trump continually accusing them of siding with China.
He has also claimed the WHO has been covering up the outbreak with the Chinese President, Xi Jinping.
Trump went onto blame China for the global pandemic and accused them of a state cover-up after making a “horrible mistake”.
He added: “Well, I don’t think there’s any question about it. We wanted to go in, they didn’t want us to go in.
“Things are coming out that are pretty compelling. I don’t think there’s any question.
“Personally, I think they made a horrible mistake, and they didn’t want to admit it.”
Trump condemned the Communist nation for not alerting global leaders on the severity of the virus and said China failed to admit their mistakes.
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