United States President Donald Trump

COVID-19: How WHO ‘failure’ on vital information cost many lives ─US

* Calls for review of ‘every aspect’ of global agency’s response to virus

* Directs governors to reopen churches, synagogues, mosques, threatens to override if they don’t comply

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In demonstrating its apparent displeasure with the comparatively high rate of infections and cases of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country, the United States (US) has lambasted the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) “failure” to obtain and provide vital information on the virus that could have controlled and destructive epidemic and saved many lives worldwide.

Alex Azar, US Secretary of Health and Human Services, in a video address to the recent WHO’s main annual meeting said: “We must be frank about one of the primary reasons this outbreak spun out of control: there was a failure by this organisation to obtain the information that the world needed, and that failure cost many lives,” says agency report.

According to Azar, WHO necessarily had to change and become more transparent, while supporting the call for an independent review of “every aspect” of the UN health agency’s response to the fatal pandemic.

Washington (US) is locked in an increasingly bitter spat with Beijing (China) over the new Coronavirus disease, while it has also taken aim at the WHO, the report stated.

The outbreak, which emerged in China December 2019, has killed and infected more people in the United States than in any other country by far.

The United States recorded more than 25,000 Coronavirus cases Thursday, May 21, as experts warned of a second wave of infections in parts of South and Midwest as all 50 states ease pandemic restrictions.

Subsequently, Washington has suspended its usual funding to the WHO, accusing it of being too close to Beijing, and covering up, while purportedly mismanaging the damaging pandemic.

Reports add that President Donald Trump has threatened to permanently freeze U.S. funding to WHO unless there’s sweeping reform, while China may look to target exports from Australia over its calls for a probe into the origin of COVID-19.

It was learnt that Australian exports of wine, seafood, oatmeal, fruit and dairy are reportedly in danger of being targeted by China if Beijing decides to escalate a row over Canberra’s calls for an investigation into the origin of COVID-19.

Chinese officials were said to have compiled a list of potential goods that it could target by implementing stricter quality checks, anti-dumping probes or tariffs, adding steps to or delaying customs clearances, or using state media to encourage consumer boycotts, the people said, requesting not to be identified.

US Secretary of Health and Human Services further stated: “In an apparent attempt to conceal this outbreak, at least one member state made a mockery of their transparency obligations, with tremendous costs for the entire world.

“We saw that the WHO failed at its core mission of information sharing and transparency when member states do not act in good faith.

“This cannot ever happen again. The status quo is intolerable. WHO must change, and it must become far more transparent and far more accountable.”

As nations of the world are focused on the immediate response to the pandemic, they need a “more effective WHO right now” in order to help win the fight against Coronavirus, Azer stressed.

Meanwhile, President Trump has urged on state governors in the US to allow places of worship, including churches, synagogues and mosques, to reopen this weekend, declaring them as “essential services”.

He stressed that he would “override” them if they do not follow through with his recommendations to allow in-person religious services to resume.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, in a video, said that the global health would conduct an independent evaluation of its response to the virus outbreak “at the earliest appropriate moment”, reports Bloomberg.

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