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On Wednesday, April 22, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed his hopes that the United States would reconsider the funding freeze.
In a virtual briefing with Geneva journalists, Tedros stressed that while the situation of epicenters in other parts of the world seemed to be improving to “make no mistake we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time.”
Tedros continued to explain that there were “worrying upward trends” in other parts of the world, including parts of Africa, Central and South America – regions with far less developed healthcare systems and infrastructure. According to the WHO’s top emergency expert Dr. Mike Ryan, “We are at the beginning in Africa,” stating a near 300% increase in cases in Somalia in the past week.
“I hope the freezing of the funding will be reconsidered and the US will once again support WHO’s work and continue to save lives … I hope the US believes that this is an important investment, not just to help others but for the US to stay safe also,” added Tedros.
Since US President Donald Trump announced a funding freeze on April 14, the WHO has continuously defended their actions, stating they were not acting in an opaque manner and declared an emergency at the right time. This defense came after Trump had accused the organization of being “China-centric” and also declaring the global emergency too late.
Tedros stated that the WHO has been working with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since the beginning. “Having CDC staff means there is nothing hidden from the US from Day One,” Tedros said. “Our CDC colleagues also know that we give information immediately to anyone.”
Tedros also added: “Looking back, I think we declared the emergency at the right time and when the world had enough time to respond.” At the time of the announcement, 82 confirmed COVID-19 cases reportedly existed outside of China, with no known deaths.