UN chief defends WHO’s performance as Trump accused it of being “China centric”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has defended the World Health Organisation (WHO), saying the UN agency had done “tremendous work” in fighting coronavirus, after US President Donald Trump accused it of being “China centric” and criticized its handling of the pandemic.
“For the Secretary General, it is clear that WHO under the leadership of Dr Tedros (Adhanom Ghebreyesus) has done tremendous work on COVID-19 in supporting countries with millions of pieces of equipment being shipped out, on helping countries with training, on providing global guidelines,” Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Chief Antonio Guterres, told reporters in response to an issue .
“WHO is showing the strength of the international health system,” he added. The spokesman was asked whether the secretary-general has a comment on Trump’s statement in which he denounced the WHO and threatened to review US funding of the Geneva-based agency.
“W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the us , yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders hospitable China early . Why did they provide us such a faulty recommendation?” Trump tweeted earlier in the day.
Dujarric said looking back, WHO has also done tremendous add fighting Ebola within the Democratic Republic of Congo, putting its staff within the frontlines. “We have seen great success in the way the WHO-led efforts to fight Ebola in the DRC and surrounding countries has had under the leadership of Dr Tedros,” he said.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, an in depth ally of Trump, vowed there wouldn’t be any funding for the WHO within the next Senate appropriations bill. “I’m in charge of the appropriations subcommittee. I’m not getting to support funding the WHO under its current leadership. They’ve been deceptive, they’ve been slow and they’ve been Chinese apologists,” Graham said in an interview with Fox News Channel.
Trump on Tuesday also accused the United States’ Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general of having produced a “fake dossier” on American hospitals suffering shortages of personal protective equipment on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak. Trump did not provide any reason for questioning the report on those shortages.
On Jan. 31, the WHO advised countries to keep borders open despite the outbreak, although it noted that countries had the right to take measures to try to protect their citizens. That same day, Trump’s administration announced restrictions on travel from China.
U.S. conservatives have increasingly criticized the WHO during the worldwide pandemic, saying it relied on faulty data from China about the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Last week, Republican Senator Marco Rubio involved the resignation of Tedros, saying “he allowed Beijing to use the WHO to mislead the worldwide community.”
But most commentators ignored Trump’s attacks on WHO, saying he was shifting the blame to the United Nations agency to cover his failure to affect the Covid-19 crisis.