World Health Organization Chief Blames ‘Human Error’ on Calling Coronavirus Threat ‘Moderate’

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus briefs the press on evolution of new coronavirus epidemic on January 29, 2020 in Geneva. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

By JOSHUA CAPLAN

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.”

CAP

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.

 

FLASHBACK: John Bolton Described Trump and Zelensky Call as “Warm and Cordial” Back in August Before He Was Fired (VIDEO)

 

Well, this didn’t make any headlines this week.

Just one month before former National Security Advisor John Bolton was fired he praised President Trump in his phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky.

In an interview in August John Bolton praised President Trump and called his call with Zelensky “warm and cordial.”

Cristina Laila reported this Bolton interview with Radio Free Europe in August.

Via Mark Levin.

Here is the full interiew.

BRITISH AIRWAYS ENDS ALL FLIGHTS TO CHINA AS VIRUS SPREADS TO MIDDLE EAST

British Airways Ends All Flights To China As Virus Spreads To Middle East

The decision comes after United Airlines said it would temporarily reduce the number of flights between the US and China

Zero Hedge – JANUARY 29, 2020

As the Trump Administration denies plans to shut down all passenger air traffic to China, more airlines around the world are suspending routes, a sign that the coronavirus outbreak could do permanent damage to the industry.

Just hours after the UK Foreign Office warned Britons against traveling to China, British Airways, Britain’s flag carrier, and its second-largest airline in the UK, suspended all flights to China.

British Airways operates direct flights from Heathrow to Beijing and Shanghai, but right now, passengers can’t book flights on those lines until Feb. 29. CNN called it “the most drastic action yet by a major airline” in response to the crisis.

The decision comes after United Airlines said it would temporarily reduce the number of flights between the US and China.

“We have suspended all flights to and from mainland China with immediate effect following advice from the Foreign Office against all but essential travel,” the company said in a statement Wednesday.

This comes after United said Tuesday that it had seen a “significant decline in demand” and been forced it to suspend flights from Feb. 1 through Feb. 8 between its US hubs and Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai. In total, 24 round trips have been impacted between Hong Kong to San Francisco and Newark; Beijing to Dulles, O’Hare and Newark; and Shanghai to San Francisco, Newark and O’Hare.

American Airlines, Delta and United all extended change fee waivers through the end of February, while Hong Kong flagship carrier Cathay Pacific said it will reduce the capacity of flights to and from mainland China by half or more until the end of March.

Finland’s Finnair is canceling three weekly flights between Helsinki and Beijing between Feb. 5 and March 29, and two weekly flights between Helsinki and Nanjing between Feb. 8 and March 29, because of the suspension of group travel by Chinese authorities. It will continue to operate flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

There are now 5,974 cases in China, with 1,239 of whom are severely ill, according to state media on Wednesday. Initial theories, put forward by some infectious disease experts, that the mortality rate of the virus is much lower than reflected in press reports because thousands with mild cases are likely toughing it out in their homes. If anything, it looks like the virus is more lethal than we previously believed.

And it’s certainly more infectious.

Per the SCMP, a 48-hour span of no new nCoV infections came to an end Wednesday when Hong Kong authorities announced two more patients tested positive for the potentially deadly illness, bringing the local total to 10, as the HK government suspends high-speed rail travel between the Special Administrative Region and the mainland. The HK Department of Health said the two new patients, an elderly couple, aged 72 and 73, tested positive at Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam, and, because of their age, fall into the high-risk category of infections. More than 100 people are still in isolation in HK.

CAP

The situation is growing increasingly worrisome in Guangdong province, which is centered around the city of Guangzhou, the fifth-largest in China.

Guangzhou is at the center of a massive conurbation stretching out all the way to Shenzen, and to the other neighboring cities of Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan and several other neighboring provinces. This agglomeration is one of the largest of its kind on Earth, home to more than 100 million. City officials announced five new infections, two locals and three foreigners. With more than 270 confirmed cases, this well-connected and economically important province is behind only Hubei and Zhejiang in terms of number of cases.

Now that several countries have copies of the coronavirus genome, the race for a workable vaccine is intensifying. Russia joined that race on Wednesday after receiving a copy of the virus genome from China, Russian state media reported on Wednesday. The US said on Tuesday that it would take three months to start initial trials for a vaccine that it’s developing, and three further months to gather data.

In Hong Kong, infectious diseases expert Professor Yuen Kwok-yung said on Tuesday that the city’s researchers had stumbled on a vaccine, but that it would take months to test on animals and at least another year to conduct trials on humans before it could be confirmed ready for human use. Scientists in Melbourne said they grew the virus from a patient sample, which could prove a “game-changer” in combating the outbreak. It was the first time the virus had been grown in a cell culture outside China (here’s hoping it isn’t misused as a potential bioweapon).

After confirming the first case of human-to-human transmission in Japan, health officials in Tokyo have shared more information about the case with the press: The man did not travel to Wuhan but drove buses with tour groups from the city twice this month. The man is in his 60s and lives in Nara Prefecture, according to the Japan Times.

Overnight, the first case of the virus in the Middle East have been confirmed in the United Arab Emirates, according to the country’s Ministry of Health and Community Protection. The 4 infected patients are members of a family that had traveled from Wuhan. In its statement, the health ministry reported the family as being in a stable condition under medical observation, according to CNBC.

As hysteria surrounding the outbreak grows, SCMP reports that resentment toward people from Wuhan is growing across China, as provincial authorities ramp up screenings of those from Wuhan, and citizens build unauthorized roadblocks to keep strangers out of their towns.

Meanwhile, President Xi said Wednesday that “preventing and containing the virus remains a severe and complex task,” a follow up to his claims that China would do whatever is necessary to contain the “demon” virus.

Could coronavirus be the recessionary catalyst that triggers a global economic downturn? RT’s Boom Bust investigates

CAP

While the markets have slightly rebounded after the shock of the coronavirus outbreak, the effects of the crisis could ripple across industries, ex-Fed insider Danielle DiMartino Booth believes.

After sliding to the lowest close in over a week on Friday over the spread of the deadly virus, US stocks rebounded slightly as the new trading week began, with the key Dow Jones Industrial Average index climbing over 200 points on Tuesday. However, the markets could still grossly underestimate the consequences of the outbreak and are just hinging on the Fed’s injections, says former Fed insider Danielle DiMartino Booth.

“The markets are woefully underestimating the important economic impact globally of what this [outbreak] means given that we started the year leaning on multinationals to charge out of the US earnings recession and leaning on Germany to come out of its own industrial recession. That’s not going to happen either,” she told RT’s Boom Bust.

Booth explained that the companies which were set to lead the US out of the earnings recession are highly dependent on revenues and profits from overseas. The coronavirus could easily impede this, but the markets may still “press towards all-time highs, because they’re saying this bad news is good enough that it’s going to actually cause [the] Fed’s liquidity injections to grow.”

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