Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, the former Chancellor claimed it will be necessary to investigate why China covered up important information about coronavirus in January and whether acting more transparently sooner would have made a difference into the spreading of COVID-19 across the world. He said: “I think one of the lessons to learn from this when we are past the worst of the crisis is that we are going to have to look carefully into was China providing the right information.
“So as in to the WHO and to the others.
“China didn’t even admit to human-to-human transmission until some time in January, which was very late in the day and I think it’s a legitimate question to ask what they knew, when and how that could have made a difference.”
Asked whether US President Donald Trump was right to withdraw funds to the World Health Organisation over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Javid said he does not agree with the US leader’s decision.
“Whilst there are legitimate questions to ask about the WHO, I think that now it’s not the time and that’s the wrong thing to do,” he said.
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Echoing Mr Javid’s comments, Tory MP Tom Tugendhat said China is trying to exploit the global crisis triggered by the novel coronavirus outbreak by wresting control of companies such as Imagination Technologies and changing the way the internet works.
The Foreign Affairs Select Committee told Sky News: “We’re seeing quite a lot of action by the Chinese state, or state-owned companies, that seem to be exploiting this moment.
“Companies like Imagination Technologies… it’s been facing a rather hostile change in management in the last few weeks, which happened to coincide not just with the COVID crisis but also the prime minister being taken into hospital and the Easter weekend.”
Tugendhat also said he was concerned by Donald Trump’s decision to suspend funding for the World Health Organisation.
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Donald Trump withdrew funds to WHO over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic
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“I’m concerned by this,” he said. “This is, of course, an important time for the WHO to be doing its job.”
“I understand his concerns with the way that the WHO has failed to call out China or indeed recognise the success that has been going on in Taiwan amongst other places.”
China urged the United States on Wednesday to fulfil its obligations to the WHO.
Asked at a regular daily briefing whether China would step in to fill the shortfall, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian was noncommittal.
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“China will look into relevant issues according to the needs of the situation,” he said.
The United States is the biggest overall donor to the Geneva-based WHO, contributing more than $ 400 million in 2019, roughly 15 percent of its budget.
Zhao said the pandemic, which has infected nearly 2 million people globally, was at a critical stage and that Washington’s decision would affect all countries of the world.
“This decision weakens the WHO’s capability and harms international cooperation in guarding against the epidemic.
“Every country in the world is affected, including the US and especially those with fragile capacities,” he said, “We urge the US to earnestly fulfil its duties and obligations.”