WHO urges US, China to combine efforts to fight virus

After US president's tweet, chief of WHO asks to 'quarantine politicizing coronavirus'

Peter Kenny   | 08.04.2020
WHO urges US, China to combine efforts to fight virus


The chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) hit back Wednesday at criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump, and called on the U.S. and China to come together to fight the novel coronavirus.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a WHO video-press conference said: “We are asking to quarantine politicizing COVID-19,” and asserted that politicians should focus on saving lives.

“The focus of politicians should be to save their people….Please don’t exploit this virus,” he noted.

Remarks of Tedros came in response to questions by journalists regarding Trump's tweet on Tuesday when the U.S. president criticized the WHO for being "China-centric".

Trump ignited a firestorm when he tweeted on Tuesday: “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. Fortunately, I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?”

Tedros began his remarks by observing that Thursday would mark 100 days since the WHO was notified of the first cases of “pneumonia with unknown cause” in China.

“I would like to use this opportunity to thank and appreciate the people and the U.S. government for their support. The world is getting smaller and smaller.

“Anything that starts in one place affects the whole world. We cannot live in our nation-state boundaries,” Tedros said, noting that globalization cannot be stopped while urging world unity and national unity to fight the virus.

“Throughout, our focus has been on working with countries and with partners to bring the world together to confront this common threat together,” said Tedros.

“Please don’t exploit this virus. If you don’t want to have more body bags, don’t do it.” pleaded Tedros, who said he had received racist attacks and even threats to his own life since the struggle against COVID-19 began.

“It’s incredible to reflect on how dramatically the world has changed in such a short period of time," he stressed.

The WHO chief added that there is now a particular concern with protecting the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, “not just in the poorest countries, but in all countries”.

After appearing in China in December, the virus has spread to at least 184 countries and regions, according to Johns Hopkins.

There are more than 1.47 million confirmed cases worldwide, with almost 87,000 deaths, and above 317,300 recoveries, according to the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

The virus attacks the respiratory system, and can be fatal. Most people who become infected will exhibit moderate symptoms, but it can be especially fatal for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and asthma.

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