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China failed to report coronavirus to the WHO, updated timeline shows

The WHO quietly updated the virus timeline on its website this week to reflect what actually happened

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World Health Organization
World Health Organization
(Fabrice Coffrini / Getty Images)
Updated: July 2, 2020 - 3:29pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Despite consistent claims from Chinese officials and the World Health Organization, China did not report the existence of the coronavirus to the WHO on December 31, 2019. Instead, the the international organization appears to have learned of the virus via information reported on an early warning website by U.S. doctors. 

The WHO quietly updated the timeline of the virus this week to reflect that officials learned about the virus on the eve of 2020 through information posted to a web page by American doctors working in Wuhan, China.

The original timeline show the Chinese government presented the information. A banner on the archived timeline page now reads, "This statement is no longer maintained. An updated version was published on 29 June 2020."

Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, led the congressional effort to uncover the truth about China's reporting of the virus to the World Health Organization in late 2019.

McCaul told the Washington Free Beacon that the Chinese Communist Party "never reported the virus outbreak to the WHO in violation of WHO regulation. The question now is whether the CCP will continue their false propaganda campaign that continues to claim they warned the world, or whether they will come clean and begin to work with the world health community to get to the bottom of this deadly pandemic."

McCaul's report singled out WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom for peddling the false narrative that the Chinese government informed his organization about the virus in a timely fashion. 

"Director General Tedros actively engaged in an effort to defend the CCP’s leadership from criticism, negatively impacting the world’s understanding of the virus and hampering the global response effort," reads the report. "Director General Tedros’s comments seem to suggest that Wuhan or the PRC informed the WHO of the outbreak, which is untrue."