Spanish – After more than a year of the coronavirus spreading around the world, a group of scientists from the World Health Organization (WHO) arrived in China to investigate the origin of the disease, but two of the 15 members of the mission stayed in Singapore after getting positive antibody test results.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the analyses prove that the researchers contracted the disease “at some point.” Other doctors who did manage to prove their good health and enter Chinese territory come from Germany, Australia, Qatar, Denmark, the United States, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Russia, and Vietnam. However, all of them will be in quarantine before they start their work.
WHO’s Director of Health Emergencies, Michael Ryan, says that they will not aim to find “culprits” but find the human-animal relationship that triggered the virus.
Upon their arrival at the airport of Wuhan, where the first cases of coronavirus were recorded, the scientists were mobilized in ambulances by the health team of the communist nation to the site where they will remain isolated for two weeks, Europa Press affirms. In this way, the actions of “good faith” that the WHO expected from China, a country that had previously closed its doors to another “independent” commission, would be fulfilled.
This exposed the contradictions between the two parties behind their complicity in hiding the actual number of cases at the start of the pandemic. The Hong Kong virologist, Li-Meng Yan, quoted by the BioBio network, points out that the cover-up even caused the Xi Jinping government to “deliberately suppress information channels to prevent its citizens and the rest of the world from learning the true figures and consequences of the virus.”
A greater effort
Given the delay of the World Health Organization to trace the origin of the virus and its accusation against China for the “bureaucratic” complications that prevented previous representatives from entering the nation to investigate, Ryan recognizes that now they must “redouble efforts on both sides to understand and prevent more effectively the spread of the contagious disease in the future,” reports Europa Press.
For their part, the Chinese authorities show their apparent approval of the delegation on their soil and have broadcast on national television the arrival of the officials who intend to find “scientific solutions.”
Considering that they have just finished the fight against Ebola and the flu pandemic, they admit that the process to find the answers could be extended. They claim that “these are emerging diseases that are breaking the barrier between animals and humans and causing devastation.
A crucial censorship
The South China Morning Post, a Chinese newspaper based in Hong Kong, noted on March 13 that the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was on November 17, 2019. However, the Chinese government did not officially hand over this information to the WHO until December 31 of the same year. Nor did it communicate the seriousness of the situation to the public until January 20.
A study by researchers at the University of Southampton suggested that if prevention measures in China had been taken one, two or three weeks in advance, the cases of COVID-19 could have been reduced there by 66%, 86%, and 95%, respectively. Thus, the “devastation” that the WHO spokesperson points out today would not have occurred.
Let us remember that during the first weeks of January, the World Health Organization only declared an “international emergency” before acknowledging the situation as a “pandemic.”
What the world expects
Knowing how and when the disease was really triggered – which adds up to 92 million infections and almost 2 million deaths – are the first and most demanded answers the world is waiting for about the pandemic, as well as understanding why some of those infected show severe symptoms and others do not.
Among the unresolved issues is also the behavior of the antibodies that are detected today in rapid tests. It is uncertain whether they will protect against a second exposure to the coronavirus. It is also unclear if there is immunity in those who were infected but did not have symptoms or ailments.
Evidence suggests that the Chinese Communist Party did indeed withhold relevant information, and the extent to which “exactly what level this information was manipulated is unknown,” says BioBio.
Through the Communist Party‘s web filter known as “The Great Firewall,” everything related to the pandemic was -and still is- controlled. The tool allows you to evaluate, according to your standards, what it considers appropriate or convenient. An example of this is the blocking of certain websites, such as Google, or government surveillance of different social networks, not to mention the scoring system that assigns punishments or rewards to citizens according to their form of interaction with the network or even the existence of “censorship factories,” denounced by the New York Times.
In March of this year, already in the context of the pandemic, a new law was passed that prohibits the publication of negative information about the regime. The goal would be to “create a positive online ecosystem and preserve national security and the interests of the citizenry. For this reason, they now divide the content into three categories: “encouraged,” that is, that which is permitted; “negative” for everything that disturbs the online ecosystem; and finally “illegal,” which encompasses everything that deliberately undermines the established order and calls for subversion.
According to the international organization Reporters without Borders, censorship within the Asian giant is what allowed the coronavirus to escalate into a pandemic. The challenge this time will be to enforce freedom of information about the research that will soon be undertaken.