A day after United States President Donald Trump announced that he was freezing funding for the World Health Organisation (WHO) over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the organisation’s chief voiced ‘regret’ over the decision and said the body was purely focused on saving lives and halting spread of the virus, AFP reported.
Claiming that it would review its handling of the coronavirus pandemic “in due course”, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference in Geneva: “No doubt, areas for improvement will be identified and there will be lessons for all of us to learn.”
President Donald Trump, who had announced his intentions last week, said yesterday he was cutting off US payments to the World Health Organization during the coronavirus pandemic, accusing the organisation of failing to do enough to stop the virus from spreading when it first surfaced in China.
“The WHO failed in its basic duty and must be held accountable,” Trump said at a briefing. He said the US would be reviewing the WHO’s actions to stop the virus before making any decision on resuming aid.
“There is no time to waste. WHO’s singular focus is on working to serve all people to save lives and stop the COVID-19 pandemic,” director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Twitter following Trump’s decision.
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) April 15, 2020
Tedros, who was due to host one of his thrice-weekly virtual press conferences on Wednesday from the organisation’s headquarters in Geneva, tweeted the WHO’s updated strategic preparedness and response plan for dealing with the pandemic.
“The updated WHO global COVID-19 strategy guides the public health response at national and subnational levels, including practical guidance for strategic action, tailored to the local context,” he said.
“One of the main things we’ve learned in the past months about COVID-19 is that the faster all cases are found, tested, isolated and cared for, the harder we make it for the virus to spread. This principle will save lives and mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic,” he added.
Trumps’ move garnered sharp criticism from countries around the globe, apart from the Union Nations and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
COVID-19 has claimed nearly 1,28,011 lives and infected nearly two million people, according to the JHU dashboard.
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