China ‘could have acted more quickly’ in dealing with Covid-19, WHO’s pandemic response probe declares

China ‘could have acted more quickly’ in dealing with Covid-19, the WHO’s pandemic response probe declared today. 

The direct criticism from an agency which Donald Trump has accused of being too close to Beijing comes as a team of WHO experts carries out a politically sensitive mission in China to investigate the origins of the disease. 

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today that ‘no one should be in any doubt that this is a scientific exercise’ to understand how the virus emerged.   

Tedros met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping last January, when the WHO praised Beijing for its ‘seriousness’ and ‘transparency’ in the early days of the outbreak. 

But evidence has since emerged that China withheld key information from the WHO and hindered the UN agency’s attempts to address the epidemic. 

Trump announced last May that the US was ‘terminating’ its relationship with the WHO and claimed that ‘China has total control’ of the organisation. 

‘The WHO repeatedly parroted the Chinese government’s claims that the coronavirus was not spreading between humans,’ the White House said at the time.  

Joe Biden, who takes office on Wednesday, promised during the election campaign that he would restore US ties with the WHO.  

More to follow.  

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, pictured last January with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, has come under criticism from Donald Trump for his alleged closeness to China 

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