At the start of the pandemic, the World Health Organisation praised China for its leadership and commitment to transparency. “Yet the truth could not have been more different,” says Ian Birrell in Mail+. It was Taiwanese scientists who alerted the world first. And had the Chinese authorities not delayed the truth by three weeks, there might have been 95% fewer global cases. It’s clear from the “dismal report” this week into the origins of the pandemic that the craven WHO is once again “prostrating itself before China”.
The report says the virus probably came from bats, “despite zero evidence”. Few experts accept its “daft” alternative suggestion that it might have come from abroad in frozen food. As for the theory that the virus escaped from a lab in Wuhan, the evidence may be circumstantial, but such a leak was the first explanation given by the lab’s top expert. Unsurprisingly, it was covered up fast. The WHO is right to say that the world needs to be better prepared for the next pandemic, but it is “too supine to stand up to powerful countries trying to hide the truth”. That’s especially true when it comes to its handling of Covid-19 – the WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is a former foreign minister of Ethiopia, a close ally of China. Whatever happens, we mustn’t forget that “the real villains of this crisis are to be found in Beijing”.
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