Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) asked World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to suppress news about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the German intelligence agency BND found, according to a report by German magazine Der Spiegel.

During a conversation on Jan. 21, Xi reportedly asked Tedros not to announce that the virus could be transmitted between humans and to delay any declaration of a coronavirus pandemic.

It took until the end of January before the WHO declared that the coronavirus outbreak needed to receive international attention. Because of China’s delay, the world wasted four to six weeks it could have used better to counter the virus from spreading, the BND concluded.