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Thursday 2 April 2020

‘China virus’ debate rages: Trump accuses WHO of bias

WHO has very very much sided with China; a lot of people are not happy about it, US President Donald Trump said during a White House presser

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US President Donald Trump has accused the World Health Organisation (WHO) of favouring China in the debate over the creators of the coronavirus crisis. Trump said many people were angry at the global health agency’s attitude and feel that “it is not right at all”.

“It (WHO) has very very much sided with China. A lot of people are not happy about it,” Trump told journalists at a White House press conference on 25 March.

Earlier, President Trump had said during a 21 March briefing on the US coronavirus response, “China was very secretive, okay? Very, very secretive. And that’s unfortunate.”

‘Everyone knows it came out of China’

“Look, everyone knows it came out of China, but I decided we shouldn’t make any more of a big deal out of it,” Trump had told Fox News on 24 March.

President Trump was on 26 March replying to questions from Republican Senator Marco Rubio over allegations that the WHO’s attitude had been in favour of China.

Congress member Michael McCaul agreed. He questioned the loyalty of WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, saying that his relations with China have also come up in the past. McCaul is a ranking member of the Congress’s Foreign Relations Committee. Trump told reporters at the White House on 25 March, “It (WHO) has completely, completely favoured China.” A large number of people are not happy with it. “

The US president was asked whether he agreed that the WHO’s attitude had been biased and that the US should reconsider its relationship with the health agency after the controversy subsided. Trump replied, “I think there is certainly a lot of talk that it’s been very unfair. I think that a lot of people feel that it’s been very unfair.”

US lawmakers echo Trump

Congressman Greg Steube alleged that the WHO is playing the mouthpiece of China during the coronavirus pandemic. He demanded that both the WHO and China should face the consequences after the epidemic came under control. Significantly, WHO director Ghebreyesus is facing criticism after praising the Chinese leadership for its determination to tackle the coronavirus epidemic.

Steube tweeted, “If Communist China had been transparent about COVID-19, thousands of lives would have been saved. I am proud to co-sponsor this bill led by @RepJimBanks condemning the Chinese government.”

Senator and US constitutional lawyer Josh Hawley saw a conspiracy in the corporate sector that is making it difficult to punish China. He tweeted: “Who’s against moving supply chains from #China to (the) USA? Big Pharma! Surprise, surprise.”

Hawley had earlier written, “#China needs to be held to account for the lies & deception that helped unleash #coronavirus on the world. And America needs to seize this moment to reform (the) global economy to work for American workers & families.”

Ghebreyesus, WHO?

The credentials of the WHO chief are indeed looking fishy now after the agency’s delayed response in declaring the coronavirus disease as a global pandemic. Earlier, not only he but also the agency had prematurely given China a clean chit.

“Today I met with Xi Jinping, President of China, in Beijing to discuss the next steps in the battle against the new coronavirus outbreak. WHO appreciates the seriousness with which China is taking this outbreak & the transparency authorities have demonstrated,” he had said in a tweet after his meeting with President Xi Jinping in Beijing in January.

“Just back from China where I held frank talks with President Xi Jinping, who has taken charge of a monumental national response to the coronavirus outbreak. Based on cooperation & solidarity, China has committed to protecting its citizens & all people globally from the outbreak,” he had said in another tweet.

And even WHO had said on 14 January, “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China.”

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