Taiwan Vice President Chen Chien-jen revealed last month that his country warned the World Health Organization in late December that China was lying about the novel coronavirus. China had said the virus was not transmittable by human-to-human contact, and the WHO disseminated that lie in mid-January.
In fact, Chen claimed the WHO ignored Taiwan's warnings in order to maintain its relationship with China, whose communist government demands the international community not acknowledge Taiwan's sovereignty.
Now, Chen's claims have been corroborated by new reporting.
In an Economist article detailing the remarkable COVID-19 response of Taiwan — which has thus far seen only 376 confirmed COVID-19 cases and just five related deaths — the London-based news outlet reported that the WHO blatantly ignored Taiwan's warnings.
That decision, the Economist declared, cost lives:
For all that, Taiwan's performance is remarkable. Even more remarkable is that the country is not a member of the World Health Organisation. The simple reason is that a bullying China refuses it entry. It may not even attend the World Health Assembly, the who's decision-making forum, as an observer. When Taiwan wrote to the WHO in late December asking whether there was human-to-human transmission in the virus outbreak in Wuhan, the WHO, the body now admits, did not reply.
Taiwan's fight against COVID-19 has shown that it can cope outside the WHO, even if there is a cost. But its exclusion causes wider damage. Taiwan's early understanding of the threat of the coronavirus could have given others advance warning. Taiwan's inability to disseminate its findings cost lives.
Evidence is mounting that China's communist government has lied to the world about COVID-19 and that WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and the WHO are culpable in helping China cover for its mistakes.
Now, President Donald Trump is considering slashing American financial contributions to the WHO, which make up nearly 15% of the WHO's annual budget. China, on the other hand, contributes just 0.21% of the WHO's annual budget.
(H/T: Naomi Ackerman)