WHO chief on coronavirus pandemic: world “should have listened” to warnings from global agency

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The director of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that the countries which had heeded the agency’s early warnings on the new coronavirus are now in a “better position” than those who have not. fact, while omitting from his remarks any missteps of the agency.

“We can only give advice to countries. We have no mandate to force countries to implement what we advise them, “said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director of WHO, during a press briefing on Monday, according to the National La journal .

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“The world should have listened carefully to WHO,” added Tedros. “We have advised the world to implement a comprehensive public health approach – find, test, find contacts, etc. The countries that followed it are in a better position than the others. “

Tedros noted that the organization issued “the highest level of emergency,” or a global emergency, on January 30.

However, the WHO only declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a global pandemic in March. And on Twitter, in January, shortly before declaring a global emergency, he posted a tweet citing Chinese health officials who claimed at the time that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the new virus. in the country.

“Preliminary investigations by Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China,” the organization said in a January 14 tweet, which came less than two months before WHO declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

The news comes after President Trump announced earlier in April that the United States would immediately stop funding for the WHO, saying it had put “political correctness above bailouts.” He noted that the United States would begin a 60-90 day investigation into why “China-centered” WHO had caused “so many deaths” by “mismanaging and concealing” the spread of the coronavirus.

The United States is WHO’s largest single donor, and the State Department previously planned to provide the agency with $ 893 million in the current two-year funding period. Trump has said that the United States pays about $ 400 million to $ 500 million a year to WHO, while China offers only about $ 40 million. The money saved will go to the regions that “need it most,” Trump said.

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“We are deeply concerned about whether America’s generosity has been best used,” said Trump at the time, accusing the WHO of not keeping the international community informed of the threat from the coronavirus.

“WHO has failed in its duty and must be held accountable,” he added.

Brooke Singman of Fox News contributed to this report.

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