World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus blamed “human error” on Wednesday for the United Nations agency initially downplaying the global threat of the deadly coronavirus.
WHO is walking back its assessment after publishing a report this week, in which it called the risk surrounding the killer Chinese illness “moderate.”
“WHO deeply regrets the error in this week’s situation report, which inserted the word ‘moderate’ inaccurately in the #coronavirus global risk assessment,” Ghebreyesus wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “This was a human error in preparing the report. I have repeatedly stated the high risk of the outbreak.”
WHO deeply regrets the error in this week's situation report, which inserted the word “moderate” inaccurately in the #coronavirus global risk assessment. This was a human error in preparing the report. I have repeatedly stated the high risk of the outbreak https://t.co/Qp871ObmdE
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) January 29, 2020
The striking admission comes after Ghebreyesus met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and praised the communist government’s measures against the killer virus.
Breitbart News reported:
Ghebreyesus said his organization is advising foreign countries that evacuating their citizens from Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province is unnecessary. Chinese state media eagerly promoted his remarks in a bid to control the political fallout from the outbreak.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi acted quickly to capitalize politically on the WHO director’s comments.
“With the strong leadership of comrade Xi Jinping and the advantage of the socialist system, as well as the experience from SARS, we are more resolute in tackling this epidemic with more forceful and quicker action. We are totally confident that we have the ability and resources to defeat this epidemic,” he said.
While the WHO has been quick to praise China over its handling of the coronavirus, Republican lawmakers such as Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) have expressed doubt about Beijing’s quarantine measures and transparency. In a Tuesday letter to top Trump administration officials, Cotton urged the federal government to institute a “target travel ban” on China.
“Given the latest developments and the many unknowns about this virus, we ought to follow Benjamin Franklin’s maxim: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. America is blessed with world-leading researchers and laboratories on the cutting edge of medical science and epidemiology,” he wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and acting Homeland Security Director Chad Wolfe. “Working in tandem with them, I’m confident our federal research agencies can develop a vaccine in record time.”
The U.S. has expanded screenings to 20 airports around the country and CDC officials said they are racing to develop a vaccine to treat the virus.
United Airlines and American Airlines announced this week that the airlines have canceled several flights from the U.S. to China, citing health concerns and a sharp decline in demand.