BEIJING, CHINA - MARCH 14: A Chinese woman wears a protective mask as she has her temperature checked by a security guard before entering a shopping area on March 14, 2020 in Beijing, China. The number of cases of the deadly new coronavirus COVID-19 being treated in China dropped to below 15,000 in mainland China Friday, in what the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global public health emergency last month. China continued to lock down the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, in an effort to contain the spread of the pneumonia-like disease but has moved to ease restrictions in other parts of the province. Officials in Beijing have put in place a mandatory 14 day quarantine for all people returning to the capital from other places in China and abroad. The number of those who have died from the virus in China climbed to over 3173 on Friday, mostly in Hubei province, and cases have been reported in many other countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, India, Iran, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and several others. The World Health Organization declared it a pandemic earlier in the week and cases rose sharply in countries outside China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Critics claim that the World Health Organization has been too enthusiastic in its praise of China's efforts to tackle the virus © Getty
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Taiwan has accused the World Health Organization of failing to communicate an early warning about transmission of the coronavirus between humans, slowing the global response to the pandemic.
Health officials in Taipei said they alerted the WHO at the end of December about the risk of human-to-human transmission of the new virus but said its concerns were not passed on to other countries.
Taiwan is excluded from the WHO because China, which claims it as part of its territory, demands that third countries and international bodies do not treat it in any way that resembles how independent states are treated.
The WHO’s relationship with China has been criticised in the past, with some accusing the organisation of overly praising Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak despite allegations local officials had initially covered it up.
Taiwan said its doctors had heard from mainland colleagues that medical staff were getting ill — a sign of human-to-human transmission. Taipei officials said they reported this to both International Health Regulations (IHR), a WHO framework for exchange of epidemic prevention and response data between 196 countries, and Chinese health authorities on December 31.
Taiwanese government officials told the Financial Times the warning was not shared with other countries.
“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,” said Chen Chien-jen, Taiwan’s vice-president.

Coronavirus: why the west will be hit harder


“The WHO could not obtain first-hand information to study and judge whether there was human-to-human transmission of Covid-19. This led it to announce human-to-human transmission with a delay, and an opportunity to raise the alert level both in China and the wider world was lost,” said Mr Chen, an epidemiologist by training who was health minister at the time of the Sars outbreak.
China’s health ministry only confirmed human-to-human transmission on January 20, after the WHO said in mid-January there might be “limited” human-to-human transmission but stepped back from this view on the same day.
Asked about the comments, the WHO said under its mandate it needed trust to “hold frank and open discussions on sometimes sensitive issues” and to enable this level of candour “requires that we respect the confidentiality of such communications”. Western countries have since been accused of failing to act even when they were warned about human-to-human transmission.
The WHO has had to strike a delicate balance with China throughout the outbreak, with some accusing the organisation of being too pliant while medical experts said it had coped admirably.
The challenge of managing the relationship extended to negotiations over the wording of a report following a joint mission to China last month. The nine-day trip comprised 12 WHO experts and 13 Chinese officials and was focused on the country’s response to the outbreak. Three of the WHO officials also visited Wuhan, the centre of the outbreak, as part of the mission.
The WHO’s Bruce Aylward, the Canadian epidemiologist who led the team, described the process as “fantastic”. But he told the FT there was “huge back and forth” with Chinese officials about what went into the report.
Dr Aylward said Chinese health officials did not want to refer to the pathogen as “dangerous” as they regarded such terminology as reserved for diseases with higher mortality rates.
Chinese health officials also refused to include any reference to avoiding a “second wave” of coronavirus in the report, he said, so they compromised on “a surge” or “resurgence”.
Dale Fisher, an infectious disease specialist at the National University of Singapore, said the team’s Chinese counterparts requested the report not make reference to a “dangerous pathogen” because they said it had a “bioterrorism type suggestion”, so they found a replacement.
Clifford Lane, clinical director of America’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who was one of two US officials on the mission, said the WHO team’s Chinese members had “a great desire to be precise”. He said the debates over wording did not amount to censorship but represented a “bit of spin”.
China’s ministry of health did not respond to requests for comment.
Despite the criticism, the WHO has impressed many medical professionals and public health experts with its speed and effectiveness.
“The WHO has filled its leadership role admirably,” said Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at Edinburgh University. “Though you could quibble a bit about timings, they have done all the right things so far.”
Dr Aylward added that whenever Chinese officials were reluctant to carry out a request or grant him access or were taken aback at his demands, he would always answer: “You can’t rule out another Wuhan if you don’t know how and when this started.”
He said that was always “the trigger point for them”.
“They don’t want another Wuhan,” he said.
Reporting by Primrose Riordan in Hong Kong, Katrina Manson in Washington, Kathrin Hille in Taipei and Clive Cookson in London
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Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2020. All rights reserved.

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60,000 were infected in China by end Jan and all Chinese airlines were flying to every major city in the world through Jan and Feb (so transmission en masse was a foregone conclusion) and Tedros waited another 4 weeks before declaring it a global pandemic, all all praising the foolish Chinese Premier for his incompetence in hiding facts to save face. 

The man's ineptitude is only matched by the Chinese Government
the tedros has to go, talk about a spineless leader out of hisdepth
(Edited)
Like all UN branches, the WHO is just another political organisation, where there is more focus on political harmony (or appeasement), than actual healthcare focus. UN was founded nearly  80 years ago. In its current, unchanged format, it just isn't fit for purpose as a "world" organisation - just an organisation where world politicians huddle and have meaningless talks and photo ops.
(Edited)
Human to human transmission was conceded by the Chinese CDC five weeks after the outbreak (and a week after Chinese scientists released the generic sequence). In 2003 it took them months to admit the same about Sars.

Western governments have known this now for months but done nothing to prepare. Knowing the suspicions from Taiwan a week or two earlier would have changed nothing. Following WHO guidelines to the letter from the earliest moment has proved to be the most effective policy.

China lost a month through the coverup, but Western countries have lost three months from complacency. That isn't the WHO's fault.
 In reply to ohneeigenschaften
President Trump must have had an inkling when he banned travel from China to the US?
(Edited)
 In reply to dogfark
Trump issued a travel ban on people who had recently visited China on January 31, 2020, long after it had been established that the Coronavirus spread by human to human transmission.

This was like closing the barn door after the horse had bolted, since community transmission may already have started within the US. And created a complacency that the problem was solved of which the US is now the victim, having lost at least two months to prepare a domestic public health response by eg ramping up testing capacity like other nations did.
 In reply to ohneeigenschaften
The joint WHO China report strongly indicates that the number of asymptomatic infections is virtually zero.

We are now finding out that is around 50% or higher.

This COMBINED with human to human transmission is the issue. The insidious combination will cost some millions of lives.

The report would better have left this uncertain then word it such that it indicated all infections are symptomatic.

I suppose many know not to rely on such a report and there were large numbers of clues...

Additionally the age profile of those who were hospitalized is not included despite the extensive detail in the report.

it still seems to be reported with great certainty the number that died in China of this infection. I would be interested to see if the model makes any sense when it compares Germany Italy and China when this is all over.

I appreciate there is a great deal of politics involved, but the obfuscation within the report at some point is worse than no report.




 In reply to EyeOnTheBall
You're quite right that the rate of asymptomatic infections is a key variable in this epidemic, but that is not what this article highlights: that Taiwan warned about human to human transmission three weeks before mainland Chinese officials publicly admitted this.
The only way to determine the asymptomatic infection rate is to extensively test asymptomatic individuals, which is hard to justify when tests are scarce. Even now the UK and USA are restricting testing to severely ill individuals.
In Italy this rate had now been shown to be as high as 70%:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/20/eradicated-coronavirus-mass-testing-covid-19-italy-vo,
but this is a rather recent discovery (although epidemiologists were always aware of the possibility), now recognized by the WHO, but not signaled by Taiwan in early January, as far as I am aware.
 In reply to ohneeigenschaften
 In reply to ohneeigenschaften
Totally agreed.

Also, I don't understand how blame game will help in anyways now. And, Taiwan trying to be a hindsight genius. 
 In reply to Fact
As soon Taiwan had precise information, they transparently published, PRAY TELL, when do you learn from hindsight, if not this !!!!!!

https://focustaiwan.tw/society/202002090010

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32173241

https://focustaiwan.tw/society/202002100010

DO READ THE LINKS PROPERLY Feb 9th to be precise... it took Taiwan 5 cases !!!!! and they were sharing this information. Taiwan were precise and cautious. They could not quote the evidence that had already reached them from China, due to the pressure they are constantly under and required their own specific evidence.

CHINA HAD 5 CASES BY 15th DECEMBER or earlier (?) . Who/WHO knows ?  
Tedros should apologize and resign. He has been a sycophant of the Chinese from the start, praising them at every turn and accepting their assurances and figures at face value. 3,000 dead in a country of 1.3 billion after 2 months of rampant spreading? Well, the world now has the pandemic he was soooo long in calling. He should go and enjoy his retirement in Wuhan.
Xi Jingping and the leadership of the WHO have the deaths of everyone after the fist few weeks of cases on their hands. 
(Edited)
The World CCP Health Organisation is as corrupt as the brutal xenophobic dictatorship that brought us the virus in the first place.

They delayed proper action to save the face of goons in Beijing.

Unforgivable.
The PRC has a difficult relationship with allowing independent checks. It has routinely suppressed news that make its leaders look bad. This is nothing new, it’s how communist authoritarianism works. So it is hardly likely that the WHO has been able to write an impartial report. Also, the PRC is quite willing to sacrifice people’s lives for the good of the Party. Politics and patriotism come first. Human lives are much further back in the queue. Its reaction to Taiwan’s reports bear ample witness to that. It has even gone so far as to condone claims that the outbreak has been caused by the US. 
We have made the mistake of acting as if, because it has become economically less communist, it has also dropped its authoritarian ways. We have forgotten that the PRC is not a trustworthy partner in all walks of life: It has no respect for human rights and aspires to create a worldwide empire. 
The influence of the PRC over the WHO is obvious from one simple thing: The WHO approved of its handling the crisis with ruthless lockdowns, an approach which is not compatible with western democracies. Consequently, countries for which this approach is not suitable in social and economic terms ave stupidly followed the WHO and PRC along a path that will destroy them. Just like we can’t deal with muslims by sticking them in “reeducation” facilities, we can’t deal with a virus by using the kind of authoritarian methods that have led Romania and Bulgarian to demand exemptions from the European Convention on Human Rights.


The Silk route and the wave of Covd-19 virus proof that China needs to be restricted in its way of doing business, i.e. it cannot be allowed to use a global platforms as long as it’s government is autocratic and based on coersion.
I heard the reason for keeping the virus quiet at the time was the CCP wanted to develop a vaccine for it first, so as to come to the rescue of their own man-made disaster.

Well It's been several months now. We are waiting, CCP. So far your performance is underwhelming.
 In reply to Simplicius
What an absurdly and demonstrably wrong and useless comment!
WHO needs to be reorganized. Taiwan needs to be admitted and China needs to be expelled. WHO then should be properly funded and corruption needs to be rooted out. Tedros needs to face criminal charges and spend the rest of his life behind bars (preferably in some country with really bad but secure prisons) Only then will we be able to have faith in this organisation again.
To analyse the pandemic as a network, a network are essentially compose of 2 elements: receiving node and path. It used to be China is no so connected to network, now it is very connected to the network. 

As China has proven itself to cause severe risk(SARs and Wuhan virus), the inevitable option is to cutoff China from the network or else risk ruin. Italy is the prime example, this epidemic cause them much more than gains from China, not to mention US stock market has lost 20 trillion dollars of value and above all, unnecessary lost of lives globally.

Unfortunately, global leaders (bar Trump) will do little to stand up against China. Perhaps it warrants merit to vote Trump to continue the decoupling of US and China. 
 In reply to flyer
Spot on. All the ‘riches’ China had promised the West will never materialize. It is better to cut China loose. Treat it as the pariah that it is.
 In reply to flyer
Missing the key point that Trump has deliberately downplayed the risks and realities, thereby unnecessarily exposing US citizens to incremental risk of death, which surely will hit many of them.
 In reply to Paulshk
So Trump did the same thing Xi did? Both performed terribly then. In that case I agree with you. 
 In reply to Matt88
Yes.
You can't trust these people and you can't play their perverse political game.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has behaved like a lackey of Xi. That was visible in his body language when he met him.

The WHO heaped praise on China while first and foremost their initial gagging of the doctors slowed the response, allowed millions to travel out of Wuhan. 

Finally the map sloppily published by the WHO on the arcgis website just passes on the view shared by China, that Taiwan and Hong Kong are part of China so they are passively pushing Beijing's agenda.

The UN and the WHO have been pathetic. A lesson should be that they should support Taiwan and recognise they are a proper independent country.

Whatever the China trolls will say, surely foaming at the mouth and throwing broken posts hastily translated with broken AI tools.
Could someone please explain why human to human transmission would come as a surprise?  Isn't that how viruses like the flu are spread? Why would that be remarkable? Thanks
(Edited)
 In reply to Kenneth Kolrabi
Here's the big difference:  Viruses can transmit from animals to humans.  If this doesn't change, containment is much easier, i.e. get rid of the animals.  However, in SARS-CoV-2, it jumped from animal to human and then found humans a hospitable enough host to jump human to human.  And here we are.

The CCP wanted to say it wasn't human to human.
 In reply to Kenneth Kolrabi
As Wenren said, in addition, viruses jumping to human is bad enough but to go human to human with high infectious rate is the trigger for an epidemic. CCP handling was the trigger for the pandemic. WHO just stood by and read their script. Hard to blame them for everything.
Interesting, so why people are still gathering during Feb end and March beginning? People only become fear when the death actually approaches you. I know there is a delay on Jan beginning, but everyone starting from 24th Jan, take the virus real serious. And I check FT everyday, so you will see people are in danger. So don't blame you no precaution decision during 24th Jan to 10th March in other country, save it, and don't mix it with your politics. 
 In reply to Jeremy
Did you read to the end of the article? Please read first, then inform us of your politics.
 In reply to