WHO recordings show frustration with China over coronavirus information delays

China stalled on providing critical coronavirus information to the World Health Organization (WHO), which expressed frustration in private even as it praised the country in public, according to a recent report from the Associated Press (AP).

The AP reported the WHO thanked the Chinese Government for sharing the genetic map of the virus “immediately,” and said its work and commitment to transparency were “very impressive, and beyond words”.

But the AP said it was a different story behind the scenes, with frustration among WHO officials over not getting the information they needed to fight the spread of the deadly virus.

According to the AP, China sat on releasing the genetic map, or genome, of the virus for more than a week after three different government labs had fully decoded the information.

The news outlet said Shi Zhengli, a coronavirus expert at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, had fully decoded the entire genome of the virus by January 2, according to a notice later posted to her government institute’s website. The genome was released on January 12.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied delays in sharing virus information, saying the AP report was “seriously inconsistent with the facts”.

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