The head of the World Health Organization said Monday that the countries that listened to the organization’s early warnings about the coronavirus pandemic fared better than those that were late to generate a public health plan.
“On Jan. 30, we declared the highest level of emergency — global emergency on COVID-19,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a WHO press conference, noting also that he cannot force countries to act on his guidance. Tedros and the WHO were criticized for repeating China’s claims on Jan. 14 that coronavirus, or COVID-19, was not contagious among humans.
Officials said the coronavirus pandemic originated in Wuhan, China, before landing in the United States, where it has killed more than 55,000 people. The global death toll from COVID-19 had topped 8,000 two months after WHO posted the tweet echoing China’s assertion. More than 200,000 cases had been documented in 145 countries.
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????????. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020
“During that time, there were only 82 cases outside China,” he said. “No cases in Latin America, no cases in Africa. Only 10 cases in Europe. No deaths in the rest of the world. Nothing. The world should have listened to the WHO carefully.” (RELATED: FLASHBACK Jan. 14: WHO Tells Everyone Don’t Worry Because China Says Coronavirus Isn’t Contagious)
Tedros added: “The countries who followed that are in a better position than others.”
Tedros, who won his post after China backed him in the May 2017 election, effusively praised Beijing for what he considers a transparent response to coronavirus, or COVID-19, before Chinese officials told the WHO in mid-January that the virus was not transmittable from animals to humans.
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