WHO director strikes back at Trump threat to defund: Behave … ‘if you don’t want more body bags’

The World Health Organization’s director criticized President Trump for his threat to defund the agency, in a warning to not politicize the coronavirus emergency  “if you don’t want many more body bags.”

WHO Director Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus responded Wednesday to Trump’s remarks the previous day when he called out the agency’s “China-centric” actions and said they “called every shot wrong” in combating the global pandemic.


(Source: ABC News)

“At the end of the day, the people belong to all political parties. The focus of all political parties should be to save their people, please do not politicize this virus,” Tedros told reporters when asked about the president’s threat to cut off funding for the United Nations agency.

“If you want to be exploited and if you want to have many more body bags, then you do it. If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it,” he added.

“My short message is” please quarantine politicizing COVID – the unity of your country will be very important to defeat this dangerous virus. Without unity, we assure you even any country that may have a better system will be in more trouble. That’s our message,” he said.

Trump told reporters Tuesday that he was “going to look into” cutting off funding, after making a similar statement on Fox News’ “Hannity,” and blasting the WHO on Twitter.

The World Health Organization has come under increasing fire for not pushing back on China’s downplaying of the outbreak and its underreporting of coronavirus cases. But in his remarks Wednesday, Tedros called on the U.S. and China to work together to “fight this dangerous enemy.”

“The United States and China should come together and fight this dangerous enemy, they should come together to fight it and the rest of G-20 should come together to fight it, and the rest of the world should come together and fight it,” he said.

“We will have many body bags in front of us if we don’t behave,” he added. “When there are cracks at [the] national level and global level, that is when the virus succeeds.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres predictably backed the agency which he said has been on the “frontlines” of the crisis.

“It is my belief that the World Health Organization must be supported, as it is absolutely critical to the world’s efforts to win the war against COVID-19,” he said.

Tedros’s comments Wednesday included a call for national unity, saying “we should be able to work across party lines.”

“If we care about our people, if we care about our citizens,” Tedros said, “please work across party lines, across ideology, across beliefs, across any differences, for that matter. We need to behave. That’s how we can defeat this virus.”

“No need to use COVID to score political points. No need. You have many other ways to prove yourselves,” he said.

Trump has not been alone in criticizing WHO for being too slow in its response to the coronavirus outbreak, with others calling out the agency for being too trusting of the Chinese government, as even back in January the WHO claimed that human-to-human transmission of the virus had not been proven.

The agency dragged its feet on declaring a global health emergency even as China ordered lockdowns in late January and the virus continued to spread to more than half a dozen countries.

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Frieda Powers

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