Taiwan says WHO ignored December warning on Coronavirus’s person-to-person transmission

The WHO has been charged with praising China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic despite accusations of an initial cover up, which included threatening whistleblowers with arrest on account of talking about the pandemic that has since then infected around 250,000 people and killed at least 10,000.
China’s health ministry confirmed human-to-human transmission of Covid-19 on January 20. (Photo by Samir Jana / Hindustan Times)
China’s health ministry confirmed human-to-human transmission of Covid-19 on January 20. (Photo by Samir Jana / Hindustan Times)
Updated on Mar 21, 2020 05:41 AM IST
Copy Link
New Delhi, Hindustan Times | By

Taiwan has said the World Health Organization (WHO) ignored an alert it shared with the international health agency in December about person-to-person transmission of the new virus in China, which indicates that the infection is highly contagious, and slowed the global response to the pandemic, according to Financial Times.

The WHO has been charged with praising China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic despite accusations of an initial cover up, which included threatening whistleblowers with arrest on account of talking about the pandemic that has since then infected around 250,000 people and killed at least 10,000.

According to FT, Taiwan vice-president Chen Chien-jen said its doctors had heard from mainland colleagues about medical staff getting ill, which is a sign of human-to-human transmission, and Taipei officials reported this on December 31 to both China and International Health Regulations (IHR), a WHO framework for exchange of epidemic prevention and response data between 196 countries.

The alert was ignored. China’s health ministry confirmed human-to-human transmission of Covid-19 on January 20.

“While the IHR’s internal website provides a platform for all countries to share information on the epidemic and their response, none of the information shared by our country’s [Centers for Disease Control] is being put up there,” Chen Chien-jen, vice-president of Taiwan, told FT. Taiwan is not a part of the WHO because China claims it as part of its territory and does not want it treated as an independent state.

As late as January 14, just two weeks before WHO declared Covid-19 a global health emergency, the global health agency tweeted that “preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China.”

Since then, the novel coronavirus has been named Covid-19.

The first case of someone in China suffering from Covid-19, the disease caused by the Sars-Cov2, can be traced back to November 17, according to government data seen by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post. Chinese authorities have identified at least 266 people who were infected last year, all of whom came under medical surveillance at some point, it said.

HT reached out to the spokesperson of the embassy of China in New Delhi, who said, “Taiwan is a part of China. There is no Vice President there.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sanchita is the health & science editor of the Hindustan Times. She has been reporting and writing on public health policy, health and nutrition for close to two decades. She is an International Reporting Project fellow from Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and was part of the expert group that drafted the Press Council of India’s media guidelines on health reporting, including reporting on people living with HIV.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • FILE PHOTO: A general view of village houses at Hong Kong border facing the skyscrapers in Shenzhen, in Hong Kong, China.

    Why property developers in China accepting house payments in watermelons, wheat

    Real estate firms in China have now started accepting payments for homes in watermelon, wheat, garlic and several other agricultural produce, Chinese daily The Global Times reported. Realtors in tier-3 and 4 cities are encouraging home buyers to pay part of the house payment with wheat and garlic. Experts say that China's economy, battered by multiple Covid-19 curbs, has shown slow post-lockdown recovery.

  • A man clears debris from a driveway near a bus inundated by floodwaters on a residential street, following heavy rains and severe flooding in the McGraths Hill suburb of Sydney, on July 6, 2022. 

    Homes of 85,000 people at risk, but rain eases around Sydney

    Floodwaters had inundated or were threatening the homes of 85,000 people around Sydney on Wednesday as rivers started to recede and the heavy rains tracked north of Australia's largest city. Emergency responders knocked on doors overnight in the towns of Singleton and Muswellbrook, in the Hunter Valley north of Sydney, to order residents to evacuate, Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke said. “For many, it has been a sleepless night,” Cooke said.

  • Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, foreground and Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak take part in a cabinet meeting.

    ‘Will have to drag him kicking and screaming': UK PM Boris Johnson on the brink

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face questions in parliament followed by a grilling by senior lawmakers on Wednesday, with his premiership on the brink after a slew of resignations from ministers saying he was not fit to govern. A growing number of lawmakers in his ruling Conservative Party have said the game is up for Johnson.

  • Rishi Sunak reacts as Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, in London.

    ‘Cannot continue like this’: What Rishi Sunak said as he quit Johnson cabinet

    British chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid quit the government on Tuesday amid mounting pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson for appointing a tarnished member of the Parliament to a key government position.

  • Robert E Crimo was arrested hours after Illinois was gripped by shock and horror. 

    US July 4 parade shooting suspect charged with seven murder counts

    A 21-year-old man who allegedly opened fire on a July 4 parade in a wealthy Chicago suburb while disguised in women's clothing was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder on Tuesday, prosecutors said. Robert Crimo, 21, was arrested on Monday, several hours after the attack on a festive Independence Day crowd. More than 35 people were injured.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, July 06, 2022