UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday, 8 April, said it was not the time to criticise the early response to the coronavirus pandemic, after US President Donald Trump attacked the World Health Organization.
"Once we finally turn the page on this epidemic there must be a time to look back fully ... But now it is not that time," Guterres said in a statement.
"Now is the time for unity, for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences."
Guterres said the WHO “is on the front lines, supporting member states and their societies, especially the most vulnerable among them, with guidance, training, equipment and concrete life-saving services.”
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he would put a hold on America's funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO), accusing it of becoming China-centric during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, even as the UN chief lauded their "tremendous work".
“We're going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO. We're going to put a very powerful hold on it and we're going to see. It's a great thing if it works. But when they call every shot wrong, that's no good,” Trump told reporters at his daily White House news conference.
Meanwhile, Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, spoke in a different tone.
"For the Secretary General, it is clear that WHO under the leadership of Dr Tedros (Adhanom Ghebreyesus) has done tremendous work on COVID-19 in supporting countries with millions of pieces of equipment being shipped out, on helping countries with training, on providing global guidelines,” said Dujarric.
Geneva-headquartered World Health Organisation, receives vast amounts of money from the United States.
“We pay for a majority or the biggest portion of their money. They actually criticised and disagreed with my travel ban at the time I did it. They were wrong. They've been wrong about a lot of things,” said Trump.
They had a lot of information early and they didn’t want to -- they’re very -- they seem to be very China centric, Trump charged during his news conference.
Trump said his administration is going to look into the US funding to the WHO.
“We give a majority of the money that they get, and it's much more than the USD 58 million. USD 58 million is a small portion of what they've got over the years. Sometimes they get much more than that. Sometimes it's for programs that they're doing, and-it's much bigger numbers. If the programs are good, that's great as far as we're concerned,“ he added.
“But we want to look into it, World Health Organisation, because they called it wrong.”
"“They (WHO) called it wrong. They missed the call. They could’ve called it months earlier. They would have known and they should have known and they probably did know. So, we’ll be looking into that very carefully, and we’re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO.”" - Donald Trump, US President
Meanwhile, Senator Jim Risch, chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for an independent investigation into the WHO handling of the COVID-19 response.
“The WHO has failed not only the American people, it has failed the world with its flagrant mishandling of the response to COVID-19,” said Risch.
“Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus' apparent unwillingness to hold the Chinese Communist Party to even the minimum standard of global health and transparency hindered the world's ability to blunt the spread of this pandemic. It is completely unacceptable that the world's global health organization has become a political puppet of the Chinese government,” he alleged.
“An independent investigation into the WHO’s handling of the COVID-19 response is imperative,” he asserted.
A bipartisan group of nearly two dozen lawmakers announced on Tuesday to introduce a resolution to defund the WHO until its Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus resigns and an international commission investigates the organisation's role in covering up the Chinese Communist Party's failed COVID-19 response.
“The WHO helped the Chinese Communist Party hide the threat of COVID-19 from the world and now more than 10,000 Americans are dead, a number that is expected to rise dramatically in the coming weeks,” Congressman Guy Reschenthaler alleged.
“The United States is the largest contributor to WHO. It is not right that Americans' hard-earned tax dollars are being used to propagate China's lies and hide information that could have saved lives. This bill will hold the WHO accountable for their negligence and deceit,” he asserted.
“The United States’ intelligence community has reported that the Chinese government hid the threat of COVID-19 and, as a result, made it difficult for the rest of the world to respond early, appropriately and aggressively,” said Congressman Fred Keller.
Senator Marco Rubio ACCUSED The Chinese Communist Party of using WHO "to mislead the world."
“The organisation's leadership is either complicit or dangerously incompetent. I will work with the Trump Administration to ensure that WHO is independent and has not been compromised by the CCP before we continue our current funding,” he added.
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