Chinese President Xi Jinping pressured the director of the World Health Organization in January to hold off on issuing a global warning about the coronavirus outbreak, reported a German newspaper.
The Der Spiegel reported the January 21 conversation between Jinping and WHO leader Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, quoting Germany’s federal intelligence service, known as the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND).
The report published over the weekend said Xi urged the WHO chief to “delay a global warning” about the pandemic and hold back information on the human-to-human transmission of the virus.
The BND estimated that China’s action to conceal information resulted in a loss of four to six weeks in the fight against COVID-19. The WHO released a statement calling the allegations “unfounded and untrue.”