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WHO Chief Pleads Not To Politicize COVID-19

tedrosadhanomtrump april09 lt

In apparent response to U.S. President Donald Trump's continued criticism of World Health Organization, the UN health agency chief pleaded not to politicize COVID-19 as unity is the "only option" to defeat the pandemic.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization's Director General, said at a press conference at the UN Office in Geneva Wednesday that countries should unify or risk worsening the pandemic.

His comments came a day after Trump threatened to withhold Washington's funds to WHO, accusing the agency of being "very China-centric".

"The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?," Trump said on Twitter Tuesday.

"They called it wrong. They really - they missed the call," Trump said at his routine Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the White House the same day. "And we're going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO. We're going to put a very powerful hold on it, and we're going to see," he told reporters, referring to U.S. financial contributions to the WHO.

Responding to criticism levelled at the agency, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "my short message is, please quarantine politicizing COVID."

"We should work across party lines, across religious lines. We shouldn't waste time pointing fingers," the WHO chief told reporters.

Describing the disease as "Public Enemy Number One", he also underscored the need for global solidarity at this time.

"For now, the focus should be on fighting the virus. There are many unknowns, and we don't how it will behave in the future", according to Tedros.

Recalling how the United States and the former Soviet Union came together in the Cold War era to work on eradicating smallpox, Tedros said, "And now the United States and China should come together and fight this dangerous enemy". He called on the rest of the world to come together to fight it.

With more than 60,000 worldwide lost to the disease, Tedros warned that more people will die without a common united front.

Covid-19 outbreak emerged in China in December, and was contained after an 11-week lockdown, during which they lost 3335 lives. President Trump often downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic during this period, and even called it not as serious as flu. But the United States fast emerged as the worst-affected country in the world with nearly 15000 deaths and 435,160infections due to the virus.

The WHO leader called on leaders to learn from their mistakes.

With Thursday marking 100 days since it was first notified about the new coronavirus, Tedros said WHO has been "working day and night" in five key areas.

"So far, we've shipped more than two million items of personal protective equipment to 133 countries, and we're preparing to ship another two million items in the coming weeks."

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