President Donald Trump criticized the international agency’s response to the epidemic on Tuesday, saying that WHO “really called, I would say, every aspect of the situation.” He also threatened to refuse funding to the United States for WHO.
“In the end, the people belong to all political parties. The aim of all political parties should be to save their people, please do not politicize this virus, “Tedros said on Wednesday. He called for unity around the world, saying the virus will exploit cracks in political parties, religious groups or between different nations to spread even more widely. “If you want to be exploited and if you want to have a lot more body bags, then you do. If you don’t want a lot more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it. “
He said the goal of all political parties should be to save their people.
“Without unity, we assure you that even any country that could have a better system will be in trouble and more in crisis. This is our message. Unity at the national level, “he said. “No need to use COVID to score political points. No need. There are many other ways to prove yourself. “
Tedros said he did not “care about personal attacks,” responding to the death threats and insults he suffered.
“I can tell you about personal attacks that have been going on for more than two, three months. Racist abuse or comments, giving me names, black or black. I’m proud to be black, proud to be black … I don’t care to be honest … even death threats. I do not care. “
“When the whole black community was insulted, when Africa was insulted, then I don’t tolerate it, so I say that people are crossing the line,” he said.
The WHO global emergency declaration of January 30 was almost a month before Trump tweeted that “the coronavirus is very well under control in the United States” and six weeks before declaring a national emergency on March 13. .
Two days earlier, on March 11, WHO officials declared the epidemic a pandemic, when there were only 121,000 cases worldwide.
While WHO officials have lauded the US response to the coronavirus, they have also criticized some of the Trump policies and practices surrounding it. They urged people not to call COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” as Trump did, saying it could unintentionally lead to racial profiling.
Trump said on Tuesday that he plans to withhold funds from the WHO, saying the international agency had lifted its travel ban from China at the start of the COVID-19 epidemic. However, it is unclear how Trump would do this. Congress has already authorized $ 122 million for the WHO for this fiscal year, and although Trump proposed $ 58 million in funding for the agency in fiscal 2021, it is unlikely that Congress will authorize such a drastic reduction in funding, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic.