In a media briefing on Monday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said having the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) personnel embedded with the WHO meant the US knew what the agency knew from the very start.
“The American government knew what we knew, and in real time. We are an open book. I would add that they participated in meetings and discussions of the China data,” Tedros said.
He went on to add that “there is no secret in WHO because keeping things in secret or confidential is dangerous [because] it is a heath issue. It should go immediately.”
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Trump on Tuesday made good his threat to halt US funding to WHO, accusing the agency of poor handling of the Covid-19 handling.
Trump said the funding — about 15 per cent of what WHO gets from donor countries — would be on hold for 60 to 90 days pending a review of the Health agency’s warnings about the coronavirus and China.
Trump also accused WHO of collaborating with China in creating disinformation regarding the coronavirus epidemic.
“The WHO failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable,” Trump told a White House news conference on Tuesday.
Trump’s conservatives allies have also increasingly criticised the WHO, accusing the organisation of relying on faulty data from China about the pandemic and being China-centric.
Tedros however called for national unity as the world fights against the coronavirus.
“This virus is dangerous. It exploits cracks between us,” Tedros said.
The Ethiopian has also warned against politicising the virus.
Using the Covid-19 pandemic to score political points is dangerous and will only result in “many more body bags,” Tedros said a day after President Trump criticised the WHO.
“Please don’t politicise this virus,” Tedros said in a briefing in Geneva, after he was asked about Trump’s remarks.
“The focus of all political parties should be to save their people,” Tedros said. He added that politicising the virus only exploits differences at the national level.
In the US, Joe Biden’s campaign team has already started criticising Trump’s actions on coronavirus in their messaging.
By Monday, April 20, the US had 777, 854 Covid-19 cases and 41, 397 deaths.