May 2nd 2020

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Gearing up to ditch free-trade policy

EDITORIAL Post-covid19, create a national development bank

CANBERRA OBSERVED Keelty water report misses the point on water shortage

ENERGY Pandemic has exposed our overreliance on imports

CARDINAL PELL Locating the golden thread

CARDINAL PELL High Court practically shouts 'not guilty'

FAMILY Dismantling myths around family tax benefits

REFLECTION Covid19 and the Church past, present and future

OBITUARY R.I.P. Bruce Dawe: poet of the people

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Doctors of WHO let the covid19 dogs out

INDUSTRY POLICY The rise and fall of Australian manufacturing and covid19

ASIAN AFFAIRS Politics done by stealth in the UN: China and the WHO

HUMOUR Get them hug-dealers off the streets

MUSIC Farewell to an Aussie jazz legend: Don Burrows

LOCKDOWN TV CLASSIC Unique, unsurpassed: The Avengers





NATIONAL AFFAIRS Crucial to get Virgin Australia flying again

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Doctors of WHO let the covid19 dogs out

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, May 2, 2020

The scandalous action of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to put the interests of China ahead of its obligation to protect the world’s people from the epidemic that originated in Wuhan, China, has not yet been properly documented.

Yet an analysis of the factual information now available shows a failure of monumental proportions. Covid19, as the coronavirus was later to be named, was identified by infectious disease specialists in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December.

When they posted their concerns online, they were taken into custody by Chinese security police, forced to recant, and told to make no further posts.

Had the Chinese Government acted promptly, the disease might have been restricted to the city of Wuhan or at least confined, as were the SARS and MERS viruses that emerged over 10 years ago but were quickly suppressed and never became global pandemics.

On December 31 last year, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control contacted the WHO’s liaison office in Taipei after reports appeared in the media “that at least seven atypical pneumonia cases were reported in China”. It asked the WHO for further information and assistance but, according to the left-wing Guardian on April 18, it did not receive a reply.


However, the following day, according to the Guardian, the WHO activated its incident management support team, putting the organisation on an emergency footing.

Within a week, the WHO was conducting regular online meetings to discuss the information with its international affiliates, including the issue of person-to-person transmission.

On January 14, WHO director general Tedros Ghebreyesus tweeted that preliminary Chinese studies found “no clear evidence” of human-to-human transmission, in response to reports of the head of the WHO’s response team of the danger presented by the virus.

At this time, the disease had been spreading like wildfire from Wuhan and into the surrounding provinces of China.

On the same day, significantly, according to Chinese bloggers, the head of China’s National Health Commission, Ma Xiaowei, confirmed the dangers of the new coronavirus at a teleconference with health officials from around China.

He said: “The epidemic situation is still severe and complex, the most severe challenge since SARS in 2003, and is likely to develop into a major public health event.” (Weekend Australian, April 16, 2020)

This indicates that the Beijing regime already understood that this was an epidemic: in other words, was being spread person to person, and that it was spreading throughout China.

A week later, China’s President Xi Jinping himself publicly warned of the danger of covid19 but said that China had the outbreak under control. He claimed that the outbreak had been traced back to a live animal (wet) market in Wuhan, which had since been shut down, fuelling the supposition that it was being transmitted only from animals to humans, not from person to person.

It was on that supposition at that time that U.S. President Donald Trump praised Beijing’s handling of the outbreak, although the Chinese Government clearly knew that the disease was highly infectious.

A week later, Tedros visited Beijing, where he met President Xi Jinping in the Great Hall of the People, after which he endorsed Beijing’s handling of the outbreak. (See photo.)

He was quoted by Chinese state media as saying: “China’s speed, China’s scale and China’s efficiency … is the advantage of China’s system.” (South China Morning Post, February 13, 2020)

Criticised for kow-towing to Beijing, Tedros said: “China has done many good things to slow down the virus. The whole world can judge. There is no spinning here.”

After Australian epidemiologist John Mackenzie, a member of the WHO’s emergency committee, described Beijing’s early response as “reprehensible” for keeping the infection figures “quiet”, Tedros again defended Beijing.

On January 22, the WHO refused to declare a global pandemic, which would have triggered a global response, and Tedros criticised countries that imposed travel bans on China and restrictions on movement.

As the outbreak spiralled out of control, a global pandemic was declared a week later.

In spite of that, in mid-February, Tedros was again defending Beijing’s handling of the pandemic, saying that President Xi had shown the kind of “political commitment” and “political leadership” expected of countries facing a public health crisis.

Not only should Beijing be held to account, so should the WTO, whose director general, Tedros Ghebreyesus, covered up the gravity of the crisis, and delayed an appropriate response.

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April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm