Tedros’ change in stance should be viewed against the backdrop of the growing condemnation of and scepticism over the WHO’s role and functioning during the Covid crisis.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently chided China for not releasing key data on the origins of the novel coronavirus. This was unexpected, as he had behaved like Chinese President Xi Jinping’s spokesperson ever since the virus hit the headlines—if not before. So what has come over him? Has he suddenly developed a spine and a moral compass? Is the leopard changing its stripes?

The WHO boss recently expressed displeasure over the way the PRC allowed the investigation into the origins of Covid-19. International experts, who were sent by the WHO to Wuhan earlier this year to probe, almost exonerated China over the subject. It was “extremely unlikely” that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Virology Lab, they said. In all likelihood, humans got the novel coronavirus from bats via an intermediary animal. The lab was squeaky clean, said the WHO, forgetting that a year may make all the difference between conditions then and now.

There was nothing surprising about this finding, given the WHO’s deference to Beijing. But now even Tedros wants another probe into the origin of the coronavirus. “I do not believe that this assessment was extensive enough,” he informed the UN health body’s 194 member nations on the corona origins report. “Further data and studies will be needed to reach more robust conclusions.”

He went on to say, “Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is (conveniently for the PRC) the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy.” Of course, after such a length of time and the inevitable supervision, even Tedros knows that proving the truth is an impossible task.

Tedros’ change in stance should be viewed against the backdrop of the growing condemnation of and scepticism over the WHO’s role and functioning during the Covid crisis. Around the time Tedros performed the somersault, 14 democratic nations—the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, South Korea, and Slovenia—issued a joint statement castigating the WHO’s report exonerating China.

“In a serious outbreak of an unknown pathogen with pandemic potential, a rapid, independent, expert-led, and unimpeded evaluation of the origins is critical to better prepare our people, our public health institutions, our industries, and our governments to respond successfully to such an outbreak and prevent future pandemics,” the joint statement said.

“Going forward, there must now be a renewed commitment by WHO and all Member States to access, transparency, and timeliness,” it added.

This is what goaded Tedros to go for a “further investigation”. The tiger doesn’t seem to have changed its stripes.

The WHO and the PRC should be made accountable for their actions, and some in both tried for crimes against humanity. In the last week of December 2019, top Chinese Communist Party bosses knew about the spread and lethality of the novel coronavirus, but they didn’t inform other countries about it. As I wrote earlier, had they announced the high transmissibility of the coronavirus three weeks before when they did, on 20 January, Covid-19 casualties would have been 95% less.

It is not clear as to why Xi and the CCP wanted to infect the world but it’s quite evident that they did want to do that—and did that. Nothing else explains their reluctance to inform the world about the dangerous virus.

WHO proved to be a willing accomplice. It lulled the world into believing that the problem was not big. It didn’t recommend travel ban from and to China: Tedros couldn’t anger his masters in Beijing. Nor did the UN health body warn other governments about the gravity of the crisis. In fact, the WHO infamously tweeted on 14 January, “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.”

Tedros has to do a lot of explaining. The man who should have faced the consequences of his acts of omission and commission continues to pontificate about “leadership and solidarity at the global and national levels.”

This happened because the Fauci-led public health establishment in the US, intellectuals all over the world, Big Tech, the mainstream media, the military-industrial complex and Wall Street joined hands and refused to see the diabolical designs of Communist China.

It is only now, when Trump has been removed, that the gaze has turned to the WHO. The gaze should result in meaningful action, not just righteous indignation.

India should have been among the nations challenging China and seeking a new WHO. It can still be.

Ravi Shanker Kapoor is a freelance journalist.