Expert: China reported COVID-19 outbreak to WHO on Jan. 3
Updated 20:44, 19-May-2020
By Guo Meiping

China has been sharing information about the COVID-19 pandemic with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the world based on the principles of "early, fast and transparent" since the beginning of the pandemic, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Tuesday.

Wu told the press that China reported an "unexplained pneumonia" outbreak to WHO on January 3 when the pathogen of the disease was unclear.

"We told WHO and other countries that we'll report again when we figure out the cause," he said, adding that on January 7, when the novel coronavirus was isolated as the culprit of the unexplained pneumonia, China immediately informed the WHO.

"Once we figured out the genetic sequence of the virus, we uploaded the entire genetic sequence to WHO's global sharing data platform… all countries in the world will be able to produce diagnostic reagents based on such genetic sequences," he said.

The expert believes that the victory of the battle with COVID-19 lies on the timely and transparent information sharing with the world.

China's cooperation with WHO

Wu described the China-WHO cooperation as "comprehensive."

"A regular communication mechanism between China's National Health Commission and WHO's office in China was established," the expert told the press.

In order to better share information about the virus, China invited WHO experts to the regions that were hit hardest by the novel coronavirus.

"In January the organization invited experts from other countries to Wuhan to investigate and assist with the prevention and treatment of the disease," said Wu.

He also indicated that weekly communication has been held by the WHO for experts around the world to discuss topics regarding COVID-19, and China has played the major role.

"Through cooperation, the WHO and the world can get information about the pandemic, and the containment situation in China," Wu added. "And through the platform of the WHO, Chinese experts can provide advice to other countries to help them to deal with the pandemic."

(Cover image: Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks at a press conference, May 19, 2020. /