WHO DG Warns Against Politicizing COVID-19 After Trump Threatens To Freeze Funding, Others Criticize Agency Over Outbreak’s Handling; Taiwan Protests Tedros’ Accusations Of Racist Campaign

AP: Taiwan protests WHO leader’s accusations of racist campaign
“Taiwan’s foreign ministry on Thursday strongly protested accusations from the head of the World Health Organization that the self-governing island was linked to and condoned racist personal attacks on him…” (Lai, 4/9).

The Hill: WHO chief warns against ‘politicizing’ coronavirus unless ‘you want to have more body bags’
“The World Health Organization’s (WHO) director-general on Wednesday warned world leaders against politicizing the novel coronavirus after President Trump threatened to cut off funding to the organization due its handling of the outbreak. Speaking at a virtual press conference, WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged leaders to focus on saving lives, arguing that political attacks would only lead to ‘more body bags’…” (Wise, 4/8).

New York Times: Trump Slammed the WHO Over Coronavirus. He’s Not Alone.
“President Trump unleashed a tirade against the World Health Organization on Tuesday, accusing it of acting too slowly to sound the alarm about the coronavirus. It was not the first time in this pandemic that the global health body has faced such criticism. Government officials, health experts and analysts have in recent weeks raised concerns about how the organization has responded to the outbreak. … Critics say the WHO has been too trusting of the Chinese government, which initially tried to conceal the outbreak in Wuhan. Others have faulted the organization and its leader, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, for moving too slowly in declaring a global health emergency…” (Hernández, 4/8).

STAT: Trump faulted the WHO’s coronavirus response. But it’s guided by rules the U.S. helped write
“…Sometimes [the WHO] has deserved criticism, as when it was slow to recognize the seriousness of the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014. But more often, it draws blame because it’s an easy target — an international body that seems to have more power than it actually does. In fact, its actions are guided by rules written by its member countries — including the United States…” (Branswell, 4/8).

U.N. News: World Health Organization ‘absolutely critical’ to neutralizing coronavirus threat — U.N. chief
“The World Health Organization (WHO) must be supported across the world, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday, describing the U.N. health agency, which has led the multilateral response since the beginning, as ‘absolutely critical’ in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic…” (4/8).

Additional coverage of the WHO, Trump and other critics, and Taiwan is available from CBS, CNBC, Fox News (2), The Guardian (2), The Hill, NPR, POLITICO, Reuters (2) (3), Science, U.N. News, and Wall Street Journal.

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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