IAN BIRRELL: What a surprise … World health experts have unleashed China about Covid

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More than 420 days have passed since the World Health Organization declared that a strange new disease that killed people in a central Chinese city was alarming enough to be declared a global emergency.

When the UN body issued that landmark statement last January, it praised China for its leadership, its commitment to transparency, data sharing, and efforts to contain the deadly new virus.

Yet the truth could not have been more different. We now know that Covid-19 may have been raging in Wuhan for at least ten weeks at that point.

Transmission was hidden, doctors were silent when trying to warn the citizens, and the Chinese New Year festivities continued.

More than 420 days have passed since the World Health Organization declared that a strange new disease that killed people in a central Chinese city was alarming enough to be declared a global emergency.  Pictured: Marion Koopmans, right, and Peter Ben Embarek, center, of the World Health Organization team with Chinese counterpart Liang Wannian

More than 420 days have passed since the World Health Organization declared that a strange new disease that killed people in a central Chinese city was alarming enough to be declared a global emergency. Pictured: Marion Koopmans, right, and Peter Ben Embarek, center, of the World Health Organization team with Chinese counterpart Liang Wannian

Alert

It was actually Taiwanese scientists who were the first to raise the alarm internationally.

And the Chinese government shut down the lab of the scientist who identified the genetic sequence of Sars-Cov-2 – the strain that causes Covid-19 – after the information was only revealed to the world by an Australian expert acting on behalf of his frustrated colleague.

So much for Chinese leadership and transparency.

Studies suggest that if the Chinese authorities had acted just three weeks earlier, the virus may have been contained in 95 percent fewer cases.

Instead, it swept around the planet, leaving death, destruction and misery in its wake.

The WHO, despite its lofty mission to protect global health, seems to have learned nothing. Once again we see this cowardly body prostrate before China in an attempt to appease the revolting communist regime, while once again failing in its duty to the world.

What was supposed to be the WHO’s authoritative investigation into the origin of the virus – the dismal 120-page report is now called a “joint study with China” – aligns its findings with Beijing.

So it insists the disease most likely passed from bats through an ‘intermediate host’ before the Wuhan eruption – despite zero evidence of testing thousands of animals.

The investigation accepts China’s data for the first case, which contradicts previous case reports, and maintains that there was a ‘possible path’ for the virus to be imported into Wuhan via frozen food, perhaps from outside. the limits – an idea rejected by the majority of independent experts.

And the Chinese government shut down the lab of the scientist who identified the genetic sequence of Sars-Cov-2 - the strain that causes Covid-19 - after the information was only revealed to the world by an Australian expert acting on behalf of his frustrated colleague.  Pictured: Shi Zhengli collaborates with other researchers in a laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan

And the Chinese government shut down the lab of the scientist who identified the genetic sequence of Sars-Cov-2 - the strain that causes Covid-19 - after the information was only revealed to the world by an Australian expert acting on behalf of his frustrated colleague.  Pictured: Shi Zhengli collaborates with other researchers in a laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan

And the Chinese government shut down the lab of the scientist who identified the genetic sequence of Sars-Cov-2 – the strain that causes Covid-19 – after the information was only revealed to the world by an Australian expert acting on behalf of his frustrated colleague. Pictured: Shi Zhengli collaborates with other researchers in a laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan

Most controversially, the suggestion that it came from a lab leak was “ extremely unlikely ” and the “ least likely hypothesis, ” despite admitting that such accidents can happen, with researchers becoming contaminated with pathogens.

The conclusions are not surprising. China furiously opposed any outside investigation for months – then demanded the right to investigate the experts sent, checked all data, and relentlessly managed the team’s short study time in Wuhan.

We still have no idea how this virus originated and its natural transmission remains very likely – but there is considerable circumstantial evidence pointing to a laboratory leak.

Wuhan is hundreds of miles from the horseshoe bat caves, a source of Sars-Cov-2’s most famous relative. But it is the most important research center in Asia on bat coronaviruses.

Poor biosecurity was a known concern in these labs, as scientists conducted risky ‘gain of function’ research to accelerate virus evolution (which critics feared could cause a pandemic) and used cloning techniques that leave no sign of human intervention . .

And this new disease seemed well-adapted to infect humans, with an unusual mutation that allows the spike protein to bind to many cells.

Indeed, a lab leak was the first statement that came to mind from the Wuhan lab’s top expert, who removed key databases from public view.

Two Chinese scientists who had the guts to blame a lab leak hastily removed the article making this claim.

Meanwhile, the regime tried to blame others – even claiming this week that the rise of Covid-19 could be related to a US military base 12,000 kilometers from Wuhan – and threatened civilians with execution if they left their turn. spoke the virus.

The WHO has had a bad pandemic - just as it performed poorly during the 2014 Ebola crisis. Pictured: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping

The WHO has had a bad pandemic - just as it performed poorly during the 2014 Ebola crisis. Pictured: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping

The WHO has had a bad pandemic – just as it performed poorly during the 2014 Ebola crisis. Pictured: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping

None of this is proof that there was a lab leak. But it certainly makes the suggestion more worthy of investigation than the insane idea that this deadly disease was imported to China in a package of frozen pangolin or a chunk of chilled pork.

Not least when the US State Department publicly raised suspicions about illness among Wuhan researchers in the fall of 2019.

Thuggish

All in all, this is yet another critical failure of the WHO under its Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – a former foreign minister of a violent one-party state, Ethiopia – who is closely linked to China.

The WHO has had a bad pandemic – just as it performed poorly during the 2014 Ebola crisis, when pleas from the charity Doctors Without Borders turned for help and refused to arrange visas for experts.

I saw the horrific consequences of global inaction amid the deaths and dying victims of that cruel disease in Liberia. So I fervently hoped WHO would have learned its lesson under its new leadership. How wrong I was.

Still, Dr. Tedros joined 24 world leaders, including Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron from France and Angela Merkel from Germany, to demand a new global treaty to improve future pandemic preparedness.

He tells how “the world has come together like never before” – despite all the bitter discussions between Washington and Beijing, and the recent outbreak of vaccine nationalism in Europe as countries argue over supplies.

Given all the arguments over vaccines, it seems ironic that this call for unity was reportedly the idea of ​​Charles Michel, President of the European Council (although they acknowledge that the divisions have come to light).

Truth

Their communiqué rightly calls for a more robust global health architecture to protect future generations from pandemics. Covid, as they say, is a painful reminder that ‘no one is safe until everyone is safe’.

But this pandemic has proven that the WHO is not ready for its work without major reforms.  Pictured: Medical staff outside Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in January 2020

But this pandemic has proven that the WHO is not ready for its work without major reforms.  Pictured: Medical staff outside Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in January 2020

But this pandemic has proven that the WHO is not ready for its work without major reforms. Pictured: Medical staff outside Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in January 2020

But this pandemic has proven that the WHO is not ready for its work without major reforms. It is the backbone, too contradictory, to take on powerful nations that are trying to hide the truth.

Because this new disease has mainly exposed China’s brutal face under its harsh President Xi Jinping.

It has shown that it is a sinister and selfish dictatorial regime that will stop at nothing to protect its ruling party and continue its long march towards global supremacy.

Rather than showing leadership, it has used cover of a pandemic to crush freedom in Hong Kong with a draconian security bill and electoral system overhaul to ensure that the legislature is dominated by pro-Beijing front men.

It imprisons Hong Kong dissidents, crushes democracy in spite of the transfer deal with Britain, and has even reportedly sent an activist to a psychiatric ward to silence him.

These disturbing events, along with the frustrating search for the origins of the pandemic, prove that China cannot be trusted under President Xi.

The WHO has behaved badly, but the real culprits of this crisis can be found in Beijing.