New Delhi: RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch has demanded that the World Health Organization (WHO) rename COVID-19 as ‘China virus’.
Talking to ThePrint, the outfit’s national co-convener Ashwini Mahajan lashed out at the WHO and said it should issue an apology for its “irresponsible behaviour”.
“The World Health Organisation’s role and credibility are in question. It first believed what China said that there is no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus. But now that it has been established that it is spreading due to human-to-human contact, why isn’t WHO issuing an apology and renaming COVID-19 as ‘China virus’?” Mahajan said.
He also hit out at the WHO for questioning India’s health standards and not China’s.
“WHO’s role has been dubious. It ranked India 140th in the health index, despite India’s credential as a trusted and reliable health power in the world. Chinese role has been questioned earlier during the SARS outbreak, but WHO never condemned China for its health standards,” Mahajan said.
In a tweet Wednesday, Mahajan even said it’s time to shut the WHO “for not rising to the occasion”.
Time to close down @WHO for not rising to the occasion. Dear WHO do you have any spine? Now when it’s amply proved that #CoronavirusOutbreak comes from China by human to human contact, have guts to say its #ChinaVirus https://t.co/NfkOZMveip
— ASHWANI MAHAJAN (@ashwani_mahajan) March 19, 2020
Accusing China of spreading the virus through unethical means, Mahajan said the role of its ambitious project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), in transmitting the virus to other countries should be investigated.
“Think over this point. Deaths happened in Iran, Italy and they all are partners of China’s ambitious project, BRI. There should be an investigation into the role of the BRI in transmitting this deadly virus. China has spread this virus through unethical means and now the whole world is in danger,” he added.
This isn’t the first time Mahajan has lashed out at China for the COVID-19 outbreak.
In January this year, Mahajan had said the Narendra Modi government shouldn’t trust Huawei — the Chinese telecom major that has been allowed to take part in 5G trials in India — as China has “jeopardised world health” with coronavirus.
Trump’s ‘China Virus’ tweet
US President Donald Trump has also termed COVID-19 as ‘Chinese Virus’, drawing criticism from several quarters.
The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 16, 2020
On Wednesday, Trump defended himself by saying labelling COVID-19 as ‘Chinese virus’ is “not racist at all”.
The WHO, however, said that calling COVID-19 ‘Chinese virus’ would lead to racial profiling and that viruses don’t care about one’s ethnicity.
“Viruses know no borders… the color of your skin or how much money you have in the bank. So it’s really important we be careful in the language we use lest it lead to the profiling of individuals associated with the virus,” said Dr Mike Ryan, the executive director of WHO’s emergencies program, Wednesday.
RSS mouthpiece also blamed China
An editorial published in RSS mouthpiece Organiser on 16 March stated that China initially hid the spread of the virus.
“The first alarm bell for the suspicious new virus was rung in early December itself, but the ‘state secrecy’ practised by China suppressed those voices. After detection of unusual pneumonia cases…, Huanan seafood market was closed on January 1. By the time the WHO came into the picture and declared the health emergency on January 30, we lost the critical time,” it said.
“By the time China started using its high-handed approach to quarantine the cities, it was too late. The virus got spread all over the world and finally, it was declared as pandemic on March 11,” it added.
The editorial also said China cannot shirk its responsibility of “putting the entire world in this precarious situation”.