World

Will have more body bags if we don’t behave: WHO Chief urges global unity to combat Covid-19

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on April 09, 2020 Published on April 09, 2020

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General , WHO

World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday called for unity among nations to fight the global coronavirus pandemic while defending WHO’s attempts to contain the pandemic.

Ghebreyesus in a media briefing urged world leaders to stop politicizing the pandemic and focus on containing the same, warning that there will be many more “bodybags” if we didn’t behave.

“Now is the time for unity, for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences," the WHO chief said.

"The most powerful should lead the way and please quarantine Covid politics," he further said.

Noting that the virus had already claimed over 60,000 lives across the globe, Ghebreyesus said, “We will have many body bags in front of us if we don't behave.”

The comments were in response to the recent remarks by the United States’ President Donald Trump who on Tuesday criticized WHO to be China-centric. Trump further threatened to cut funding for the organization if they continued to side with China over the issue.

Trump on Tuesday alleged that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had been biased towards China.

“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?” he further wrote on Twitter.

US funding to the organization in 2019 exceeded $400 million. The WHO website lists the US as its top donor, contributing nearly 15 per cent of the budget.

To these allegations, Ghebreyesus responded saying: "We are close to every nation, we are colour-blind."

Earlier, Dr Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to Tedros had also defended the organization’s relationship with China stating that it had been working closely with Beijing authorities as it was crucial in order for them to understand the outbreak, according to a Reuters report.

As today the 100th day since WHO was notified of the first cases of “pneumonia with unknown cause” in China, the WHO Director-General had further detailed the agency’s attempts to combat the pandemic from response plans to media outreach.

Published on April 09, 2020

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