COVID-19: A manufactured cruelty of China and WHO?

Today, Italy is searching lands for the cremation of the dead bodies of people who have died due to the COVID-19, as every existing grounds are already full now. A disease that started in China is now creating havoc in the world. Discussion of death toll here will be worthless as it’s increasing very rapidly. Various countries which were fighting for economic supremacy are now in the race to stop death numbers and saving lives of people from this deadly virus. Despite knowing the reality and severity of the situation, China was enthusiastically involved in trade wars and increasing its military supremacy.

World Health Organization (WHO), which call itself as the first responder to any attack on global public health and is always ready to tackle any emergency situation, was knowingly neglecting the upcoming danger. How can such an important organization of the United Nations (UN) system be this wrong or careless in predicting the upcoming challenge!

WHO have stated many misleading facts on 9 January 2020, “Novel Coronaviruses emerge periodically, as we have seen SARS emerged in 2002 and MERS emerged in 2012. Several known coronaviruses are currently circulating in animals that not yet infected humans” despite knowing the fact that people were started collapsing in Wuhan due to corona. And even WHO further said that “WHO does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers to and from Wuhan”. These things clearly indicate the irresponsible behaviour of WHO and must be held guilty for this cruelty.

WHO advisory recommending no restrictions on International Traffic/ Image: WHO

On the other hand, the behavior of the U.S. has been quite irresponsible towards the whole event. U.S. Itself also paying a heavy price for this irresponsible attitude. The global community of health activist were, again and again, warning the world about the seriousness of the issue. But U.S. President was so confirmed that this disease will not impact his country. Today the situation is critical, the number of reported deaths in the U.S. has crossed the mark of 1000 and confirmed cases of infected persons is over 70,000 as on March 26.

From the very first day of the spread of this virus, China started to hide it. Even the whistle-blower of this disease Dr Li Wenliang who shared posts on social media warning of a SARS-like virus spreading in the city in December was reprimanded by police for sharing the information and made to sign a statement agreeing not to commit any more ‘law-breaking actions’. Later on, he died suspiciously due to coronavirus infection. But many reports suggest that it was the Chinese government behind this as China never wanted the truth to come out in front of the world.

After this event, when the virus started infecting the citizens of other nations. A blame game started between the U.S. and China. China continues to deny that the virus originated there while top U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who pointed the finger directly at Beijing and started calling this virus a ‘Wuhan Virus’. Even President Donald Trump also call this virus as ‘Chinese Virus’ when he interacts with the media. Whereas Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lijian Zhao amplified a new conspiracy theory that the coronavirus did not originate China and may have been brought there by the U.S. Army.

Whatever it may, China cannot hide away from the fact that it was late in understanding the upcoming dangerous situation. It didn’t even stop the people to fly to other countries. China is a place which has produced Corona like many deadly viruses. Severe Acute Respiratory System (SARS) appeared in 2002 in China. It spread worldwide within a few months. Now, recent reports suggest that another virus with the name ‘Hunta Virus’ has taken a life. However, this virus is not new and there is a vaccine available to it. Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan/ Image: FT

China has always been a race to make domination in the UN systems. Both China and the U.S. have been using the UN as an automated machine in which coding is done by both. Financial contribution to the UN system has ended up in the unbiased attitude of the organization, which was once formed to think for the greater good of the whole planet. WHO’s director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom’s election is alleged to interfere by China and it’s alleged that China supported him without examining his credentials.

China has been in a race to become a global manufacturing hub for a long time. It was working day and night rapidly to achieve this goal. China calls itself ready to reorder global governance and become a rule maker. But one thing is sure, this coronavirus will be fatal for China itself and will end up being the final curtain on China’s nearly 30-year role as the world’s leading manufacturer.

As this problem will come to an end, World needs to think on the future of after doing the deeper analysis. Some theories suggest that this virus didn’t come from nature. This has been manufactured somewhere and answers to this somewhere is known to everyone. China must be shown a true mirror. Blind race to become an economic power cannot give an excuse gateway. China needs to answer some of the most difficult questions in the upcoming future. New Delhi, India. (Photo by Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)

India is in a complete lockdown of 21 days starting from 25 March. Death toll in India is increasing rapidly with cases of the infected persons crossing 700. Conditions are critical that Prime Minister himself has to come forward two times in a very short span. He has appealed the people to maintain social distancing. This is the toughest time when people are inside their houses and only those who are involved in essential services are working day and night to provide some relief for others. All the neighbouring countries are going through the same phase.

The world is changing at a very fast pace. Old theories and dogmas are at a verge of collapse. New structures are emerging and they are also required to be revisited and rechecked again and again in different time and frame. Terms of ‘National Interest’, which once called as universal, are now clashing from each other. Results being the disruption and turbulence in the whole world. COVID-19 is just an initial example of it. We need to get prepared for something more severe.

Candidate to Lead the W.H.O. Accused of Covering Up Epidemics

A leading candidate to head the World Health Organization was accused this week of covering up three cholera epidemics in his home country, Ethiopia, when he was health minister — a charge that could seriously undermine his campaign to run the agency.

The accusation against Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was made by a prominent global health expert who is also an informal adviser to Dr. David Nabarro, a rival candidate in the race for W.H.O. director general.

Dr. Tedros, who uses his first name in his campaign, denied the cover-up accusation and said he was “not surprised at all but quite disappointed” that Dr. Nabarro’s camp — which he said included high-ranking British health officials — had switched to running what he called a “last-minute smear campaign.”

The vote for the next director general of the W.H.O. is to take place at a weeklong meeting of the world’s health ministers in Geneva beginning May 22.

Dr. Nabarro, reached by telephone on Saturday in China, said he knew of the accusations — especially because world health officials believe Ethiopia is suffering a cholera outbreak even now, while still denying it — but he insisted that he had not authorized their release.

“I absolutely did not know,” he said.

His adviser, Lawrence O. Gostin, the director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, called attention to Ethiopia’s long history of denying cholera outbreaks even as aid agencies scramble to contain them. Some of those outbreaks occurred on Dr. Tedros’s watch.

Mr. Gostin said he acted without consulting Dr. Nabarro, and did so because he believed the W.H.O. “might lose its legitimacy” if it is run by a representative of a country that itself covers up epidemics.

“Dr. Tedros is a compassionate and highly competent public health official,” he said. “But he had a duty to speak truth to power and to honestly identify and report verified cholera outbreaks over an extended period.”

In an interview, Dr. Tedros, who was Ethiopia’s health minister from 2005 to 2012 and remains highly regarded for his

accomplishments then, denied covering up cholera.

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Outbreaks occurring in 2006, 2009 and 2011, he said, were only “acute watery diarrhea” in remote areas where laboratory testing “is difficult.” That is what the Ethiopian government said then and is saying now about an outbreak that began in January.

W.H.O. officials have complained privately that Ethiopian officials are not telling the truth about these outbreaks. Testing for Vibrio cholerae bacteria, which cause cholera, is simple and takes less than two days.

During earlier outbreaks, various news organizations, including The Guardian and The Washington Post, reported that unnamed Ethiopian officials were pressuring aid agencies to avoid using the word “cholera” and not to report the number of people affected.

But cholera bacteria were found in stool samples tested by outside experts. As soon as severe diarrhea began appearing in neighboring countries, the cause was identified as cholera.

United Nations officials said more aid could have been delivered to Ethiopia had the truth been told.

Somalia, which borders Ethiopia, is currently battling a large cholera outbreak, and a new vaccine is being deployed there. Aid officials believe cholera is also circulating in the neighboring regions of Ethiopia, but without confirmation, they cannot release the vaccine. Ethiopia’s health ministry is still calling it “acute watery diarrhea,” and told VOA News last month that it would not change that report without laboratory confirmation, which it said it did not have.

Under the International Health Regulations, which apply to all W.H.O. members, countries must accurately report disease

outbreaks. But the W.H.O. can officially report only what countries say. Historically, some countries have tried to cover up or play down outbreaks of human or animal diseases for fear that travel restrictions would be imposed, tourism would suffer or food exports would be curtailed — or simply as a matter of national pride.

A woman with her baby, who was severely malnourished and had diarrhea, in 2011 in Ethiopia. Ethiopia suffered extensive outbreaks of diarrheal disease in 2006, 2009 and 2011.

A woman with her baby, who was severely malnourished and had diarrhea, in 2011 in Ethiopia. Ethiopia suffered extensive outbreaks of diarrheal disease in 2006, 2009 and 2011.Credit…Luc van Kemenade/Associated Press

The regulations were strengthened after China denied for months in 2003 that it had a serious outbreak of lethal respiratory disease in its southern cities. That outbreak ultimately became known as SARS, for severe acute respiratory syndrome, and spread to several other countries, including Canada.

Dr. Margaret Chan, the current W.H.O. director general, is from China, but was never accused of participating in China’s cover-up. She was the director of health in Hong Kong at the time and led effective responses to both avian flu and SARS.

China has since changed its policy and now is often praised for acknowledging outbreaks promptly, fighting them aggressively and cooperating with other health agencies.

There are many causes of acute watery diarrhea, and the treatment is basically the same as for cholera: intravenous and oral rehydration, accompanied by an antibiotic if the cause is bacterial.

But cholera is especially virulent and kills some victims in less than 24 hours. Since it emerged from the Ganges River Delta in 1817, it has killed tens of millions around the world.

Outbreaks of cholera tend to wax and wane and are affected by many factors, including flooding, population displacement, the immunity of victims and a phage virus that attacks Vibrio bacteria.

Dr. Tedros, who has the backing of the African Union and has been praised by international aid officials and former President George W. Bush, is widely respected for his stint as Ethiopia’s health minister.

He trained 40,000 female health workers, improved laboratories, created ambulance fleets and multiplied medical school graduates tenfold. Deaths from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as deaths of young children and women in childbirth, fell by more than 50 percent.

He was Ethiopia’s foreign minister from 2012 to 2016 and was praised for his diplomatic skills, then left office to run for the W.H.O. job.

During Dr. Tedros’s campaign, he has been put on the defensive for working for a repressive government. Human Rights Watch and

even the State Department have accused Ethiopia’s ruling party of displacing thousands of citizens, gunning down hundreds of protesters and jailing or torturing political opponents and journalists.

He has answered that some human rights violations were serious mistakes, but argues that Ethiopia is a “nascent democracy” with the growing pains common to new governments.

Dr. Nabarro is a British public health specialist who has led United Nations responses to Ebola, avian flu, hunger and other health crises.

The third candidate for the top W.H.O. post is Dr. Sania Nishtar, a Pakistani cardiologist and an expert on noncommunicable diseases.

Dr. Nabarro acknowledged occasionally getting advice from Mr. Gostin, but expressed surprise and some dismay that the issue had come up so late in the race.

“I’m quite keen to be super careful to not pursue any activity that might be considered inappropriate,” Dr. Nabarro said.

Dr. Tedros compared the accusation to James B. Comey, then the F.B.I. director, announcing a reopening of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server last year just before Election Day in the United States.

If Dr. Nabarro really did not know, “he is not in control of his team,” Dr. Tedros said. He said Dr. Nabarro’s backers have a “typical colonial mind-set aimed at winning at any cost and discrediting a candidate from a developing country.”

Categories: WHO

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