U.S. demands review of WHO’s handling of pandemic starts now, seeks reforms

GENEVA – The United States called on the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday to immediately begin investigating the source of the new coronavirus and the treatment of the pandemic response.

US President Donald Trump, who has accused the agency of being “ central to China, ” threatened in a tweeted letter to WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday to permanently stop funding if the WHO fails to would commit to improvements within 30 days and reconsider his country’s membership of the service.

More than 5.12 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide, including 332,026 deaths, since the virus emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, according to the latest Reuters census.

The WHO board of 34 member states, including the United States, held a three-hour session on Friday.

Admiral Brett P. Giroir, Assistant Secretary of Health of the United States, told the board in a written statement: “As President Trump just made clear in his May 18 letter to Director General Tedros, there is no time to lose. begin the necessary reforms to ensure that no such pandemic ever occurs again.

“We welcome the call to conduct an impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation in consultation with the Member States and insist that work begin now,” he said.

Giroir referred to a European Union resolution that was unanimously adopted Tuesday by the WHO’s annual ministerial meeting of 194 states, calling for a thorough evaluation “at the earliest appropriate time.”

“This assessment will ensure that we have a full and transparent understanding of the source, timeline of events and decision-making process for the WHO’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

When the WHO meeting resumes in the fall, it should address the outcome of the review process, reforms to strengthen WHO, “including Taiwan’s ability to participate as an observer,” Giroir added.

Taiwan lobbied hard to be admitted to the two-day meeting as an observer and received strong support from the United States, Japan and others, but said it was not invited because of opposition from China. China considers Taiwan to be a separate province with no right to the attributes of a sovereign state.

Tedros has always promised a post-pandemic assessment and “liability”.

In comments to the board, Tedros said that since the onset of the coronavirus, WHO has worked non-stop, kept all Member States informed of its evolution and provided technical advice.

“The WHO has worked day and night to coordinate the global response at all three levels of the organization, provide technical advice, promote political solidarity, mobilize resources, coordinate resources and much more,” he said.

“So far, nearly $ 800 million has been pledged or received under the WHO’s call for COVID-19 programs, leaving a gap of just over $ 900 million,” he said.

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