Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott on Tuesday called on Congress to investigate the World Health Organization (WHO) for its early handling of the coronavirus outbreak that began in China, and allegations the WHO helped China conceal the severity of the virus.
Scott described his concerns about the WHO’s handling of the virus in a statement shared on his Senate website.
“The mission of the WHO is to get public health information to the world so every country can make the best decisions to keep their citizens safe. When it comes to Coronavirus, the WHO failed. They need to be held accountable for their role in promoting misinformation and helping Communist China cover up a global pandemic,” Scott said.”We know Communist China is lying about how many cases and deaths they have, what they knew and when they knew it – and the WHO never bothered to investigate further. Their inaction cost lives.”
Scott called on Congress to open an investigation of the WHO, once it comes back in session, “To review whether American taxpayers should continue to spend millions of dollars every year to fund an organization that willfully parroted propaganda from the Chinese Communist Party.”
The Chinese government reportedly took several efforts in late December and early January to conceal knowledge about the novel strain of coronavirus, now commonly referred to as COVID-19. Chinese medical professionals who encountered the disease early on were reportedly detained and reprimanded for “spreading rumors” and in some reports were told to destroy data establishing the existence of the novel coronavirus strain.
Between Jan. 11 and 17, as the Chinese Communist Party met for pre-planned internal meetings, during which time the Wuhan Health Commission reported no new coronavirus cases. It was during that same time the WHO reiterated reports from China claiming “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” of the coronavirus.
Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China🇨🇳. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020
The WHO’s January tweet was among a list of offenses Scott listed as indications the organization was repeating Chinese propaganda.
Scott noted that he called on the WHO to conduct its in-depth investigation of the virus in February, which he said “they haven’t done” in his Tuesday statement.
Scott also raised concerns over the WHO’s apparent refusal to include Taiwan in its membership and information sharing.
A recent controversial video appeared to show a WHO representative avoid questions from a Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) journalist about Taiwan’s membership in the WHO. The edited video showed the reporter posing a question to Bruce Aylward, a senior advisor to the WHO director-general, about Taiwan’s membership in the health organization, to which Aylward said he did not hear the question and suggested to move on to a different question. After the journalist persisted with the question, the call ended abruptly.
“Senator Scott is gravely concerned about China’s efforts to isolate Taiwan when it comes global health and the WHO’s continued refusal to include Taiwan in its membership, meetings, and information, especially in the face of the Coronavirus,” Scott’s Senate website stated.