News

Was the new alternative called Omicron to avoid angering China?


The relationship between China and the World Health Organization came under renewed scrutiny after the United Nations appeared to skip the Greek letter “Xi” and invoke the new alternative to Covid, “Omicron” instead.

The World Health Organization last night drew criticism from China hawks after naming the boom “Omicron” instead of “Nu” or “Xi”.

The UN uses Greek letters such as “alpha”, “beta” and “delta” to describe the variables, saying on its website that “it would be easier and more practical to discuss them by non-scientific audiences”.

However, its decision to name the South African variant ‘Omicron’ sparked speculation that the WHO deliberately skipped the word ‘Xi’ to avoid angering China’s president, Xi Jinping.

President Xi allegedly wields significant influence over WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a former Ethiopian minister whose country has been a major recipient of Chinese investment.

Tedros has been accused of using his role to make further appointments that were favorable to Beijing, including making Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe a goodwill ambassador.

The Chinese government has been accused of using an “aggressive” impact campaign on the WHO’s response to the initial COVID-19 outbreak that missed its chance to stop the epidemic. It is also alleged that the independence of the UN body was eroded before the global spread of the virus in early 2020.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz retweeted a Telegraph editor who quoted a World Health Organization source as saying Xi had been skipped to ‘avoid stigmatizing a region’.

President Xi allegedly wields significant influence over WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a former Ethiopian minister whose country has been a major recipient of Chinese investment.

The relationship between China and the World Health Organization came under more scrutiny after the United Nations appeared to skip the Greek letter ¿Xi and invoke the new variant of Covid ¿Omicron¿ instead.

The relationship between China and the World Health Organization came under more scrutiny after the United Nations appeared to skip the Greek letter “Xi” and invoke the new alternative to Covid, “Omicron” instead.

Cases of Omicron have already been picked up in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium. It is not yet known whether the substitute arrived in the Netherlands yesterday, but the Dutch authorities are arranging tests for passengers

What do we know about the Omicron variant?

The scientists said they were concerned about the B.1.1.529 variant, which the World Health Organization has named Omicron, as it contains about 30 different mutations — twice the amount found in the delta variant. Mutations have features seen in all other variants but also have traits that have not been seen before.

UK scientists first became aware of the new strain on November 23 after samples were uploaded to a variant tracking website for coronavirus from South Africa, Hong Kong and then Botswana.

On Friday, it was confirmed that cases had been identified in Israel and Belgium but that there are currently no known cases in the UK.

Professor Adam Fane, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), told Good Morning Britain on Friday that sequencing is being carried out across the UK to determine if any cases have actually been imported.

Work is also underway to see if the new variant might cause new infections in people who have already had the coronavirus or a vaccine, or whether weakened immunity plays a role.

Professor James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute in Oxford, said the new alternative would “almost certainly” make vaccines less effective, although they would still provide protection.

Pfizer/BioNTech, which has produced a vaccine against Covid-19, is already studying the new alternative’s ability to evade vaccines.

“If the WHO is afraid of the Chinese Communist Party, how can they be trusted to call them up the next time they try to cover up a catastrophic global pandemic?” Mr. Cruz said.

Ben Zimmer, columnist for the Wall Street Journal suggested: “kudos to WHO for skipping the confusing names of Nu and Shi and going straight to Omicron.”

A WHO spokesperson told the New York Post that she avoided “nu” because she feared “people will think it’s the new alternative and not a name.”

And they added, “Whashi, because it is a common title, and we agreed [to] Naming rules that avoid using place names, names of people, animals, etc. to avoid stigma.

Earlier this year, a Sunday Times investigation exposed Beijing’s efforts to control the WHO’s decision-making process, sabotage investigations and even the installation of officials.

The paper claims the WHO failed to publicly challenge Chinese misinformation, delayed declaring an international emergency, and discouraged governments from imposing travel bans on China to protect its economy.

It has also been suggested that officials agreed a ‘secret deal’ with the Chinese to ease the investigation into the origins of Covid-19.

And that means steering scientists away from theory, the coronavirus actually escaped from a Wuhan lab, rather than coming from wild animals at a wet market in the city in December 2019.

The World Health Organization initially dismissed the theory as “highly unlikely” but now experts say there may have been “human error” in the lab.

Central to the newspaper’s claims is that close ties between the WHO leadership and China have affected its ability to challenge the country over the emergence of the virus.

It is suggested that for some time China has been using financial leverage over poor countries to install its favorite characters in key roles in the World Health Organization as well as other bodies administered by the United Nations.

Among the WHO’s decision makers is Tedros, an old friend of China. President Xi visited in January 2020, two months before the epidemic began.

Between 2000 and 2012, there were about 130 official Chinese financial projects in Zimbabwe, some totaling hundreds of millions of pounds to build hydroelectric dams and provide agricultural machinery.

In June last year, Zimbabwe was one of 53 countries to support Hong Kong’s national security law at the United Nations, which Western countries derided as the suppression of protesters and freedom of expression by China.

Professor Richard Ebright, a fellow of the American Infectious Diseases Society, told The Times that China’s efforts had a “critical role” in influencing the agency’s failure to act.

“There was no scientific, medical or political justification for the position taken by the World Health Organization in January and February of 2020. This was entirely dependent on maintaining satisfactory relations with the Chinese government,” he said.

Through this process, the WHO has actively resisted and obstructed the efforts of other countries to implement effective border controls that could limit the spread of disease, or even contain the spread of disease.

An investigation alleged that China used 'aggressive' influence on the World Health Organization to control decision-making, sabotage investigations and even appoint favored officials in the run-up to the coronavirus pandemic.

An investigation alleged that China used ‘aggressive’ influence on the World Health Organization to control decision-making, sabotage investigations and even appoint favored officials in the run-up to the coronavirus pandemic.

As China tried to insist that the virus originated elsewhere, academics, politicians, and the media began to consider the possibility that it had leaked from a high-ranking biochemical laboratory in Wuhan — raising suspicions that Chinese officials simply hid evidence of early spread.

As China tried to insist that the virus originated elsewhere, academics, politicians, and the media began to consider the possibility that it had leaked from a high-ranking biochemical laboratory in Wuhan — raising suspicions that Chinese officials simply hid evidence of early spread.

Tedros’ support in particular had a “significantly high return on investment” compared to the money and influence used to help him get elected.

A spokesperson for the organization responded to the allegations, saying: “The WHO’s top priority is to end the acute phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

They later added: “The Sunday Times article is full of inaccurate information, lies, half-truths, unsupported assertions, willful distortions, and willful omissions of anything that does not fit the pre-established premise of the story.

There have been many independent reviews of the global response to Covid-19, including the work of the World Health Organization, and these reviews refer to the work of the organization and the early warnings that we have issued.

Frankly, the WHO’s top priority is to end the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we support countries to implement comprehensive, evidence-based responses, based on consistent use of public health measures and fair use of life-saving tools including vaccines.

“In particular, we are working to enable all countries to vaccinate health workers, the elderly and other vulnerable groups, at a time when only 75 percent of vaccinations have taken place in 10 countries.”



Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button