World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday called for an end to the “politicisation” of the Covid-19 virus, a day after United States President Donald Trump threatened to cut funding to the global body, BBC reported. He said the WHO is an impartial organisation.
“Please, unity at national level, no using Covid for political points,” Ghebreyesus said. “Second, honest solidarity at the global level. And honest leadership from the US and China. The most powerful should lead the way and please quarantine Covid politics.”
On Tuesday, Trump had accused WHO of being very pro-China amid the ongoing pandemic. “They’ve been wrong about a lot of things,” Trump said initially, referring to WHO’s response to the pandemic. “And they had a lot of information early and they didn’t want to – they seemed to be very China-centric.” He said the United States would put a hold on its funding to WHO.
But minutes later, Trump backtracked. He claimed that he had never announced a cut, and that it was only being considered.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said that the administration was “reevaluating our funding with respect to the World Health Organization”.
The WHO chief urged China and US to come together to fight the virus unitedly. “The most powerful should lead the way and please quarantine Covid politics,” he added. “The focus of all political parties should be to save their people. Please don’t politicise this virus. If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicising it. Citing the toll and number of infections, Tedros asked: “For God’s sake... is this not enough?”
Following Trump’s threat, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres backed WHO. He described the coronavirus outbreak as “unprecedented” and said any assessment of how it was handled should be put off for the future. French President Emmanuel Macron also offered his support to WHO in a call to Ghebreyesus.
WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge also opposed Trump’s remarks, The Guardian reported. “We are still in the acute phase of a pandemic, so now is not the time to cut back on funding,” Kluge said. “We shouldn’t waste time pointing fingers. We need time to unite...let’s unite...The worst is yet to come if we don’t rush to ensure unity.”