Director General of WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus addresses a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland. File/AP
The World Health Organisation on Wednesday pleaded for global unity in fighting the coronavirus, following US President Donald Trump's stinging attack on its handling of the pandemic.
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As the WHO prepares to mark 100 days on Thursday since it was first notified of the outbreak in China, director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hit back at accusations that it had been too close to Beijing.
The UN's health agency has faced criticism in the past both for overreacting and for moving too slowly in fighting epidemics, but it has rarely faced as much scrutiny as with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump piled in on Tuesday, accusing the WHO having "called it wrong" and months too late, while taking US money but favouring China.
The new coronavirus, which first appeared in China in December, has gone on to kill more than 80,000 people, while more than 1.4 million people have tested positive.
"The WHO really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look," Trump said on Twitter.
"Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?"
However, French President Emmanuel Macron later "reiterated his belief that the WHO must be part of the solution" during a conversation with Tedros, according to a presidential official.
"He refuses to see (the WHO) locked in this war between China and the United States," the official said of Macron.Agence France-Presse
President Donald Trump’s decision to halt funding to the World Health Organisation has sown confusion within his administration, as staff members argue over what the decision means and whether some programmes that the agency oversees should be protected from the cut.
The WHO team also concluded the theory of a lab experiment gone wrong was “extremely unlikely,” while introducing new avenues of inquiry, chiming with China’s view that it may have originated overseas or been spread by frozen foods.
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man/is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;/... any man’s death diminishes me,/because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom/the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.“
As America’s leaders struggle to survive in a world enveloped by the deadly COVID-19, I was surprised to hear a beleaguered leader who isn’t a president – but has become increasingly presidential – absolutely nail the missing leadership essential we most need today.
With the monitoring of the first case of monkeypox in the country, the official stressed that all health authorities in the country are currently studying and evaluating the situation.
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