United States demands review of WHO's handling of pandemic starts now, seeks reforms

Coronavirus: WHO member states back probe into response to Covid-19

Mr Ghebreyesus said the resolution by the World Health Assembly on Tuesday sets out a clear roadmap of the critical activities and actions that must be taken to sustain and accelerate the response at the national and global levels.

This stance stands in contrast to the time Tedros urged Trump not to politicize the virus when the U.S. president threatened to cut off funding to the World Health Organization last month.

The Director General of the United Nations health agency, Tedros Ghebreyesus, on the organisation's website said classification of the vaccine as public good for health is in order to bring the pandemic to an end.

Even so, she said, "we must not be lulled into complacency as our health systems are fragile and are less able to cope with a sudden increase in cases".

"We have seen many South American countries with increasing numbers of cases", World Health Organization emergencies director Mike Ryan told a virtual news conference.

"In a sense, South America has become a new epicentre for the disease".

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Many experts said the rising death toll across Latin America showed the limits of government action in a region where millions labour in informal jobs and many police forces are weak or corrupt and unable to enforce restrictions. Nearly five million cases and 325,000 deaths have been registered since the pandemic originated in China five months ago.

The United States says it wants the World Health Organization to start work "now" on a planned independent review of its coordinated global response to the COVID-19 outbreak, at a time the Trump administration has repeatedly criticized the agency and is threatening to cut off US funding for it.

It is our firm belief that such an evaluation is critical, and that is not just because of the contretemps between the United States and China over the origin of the virus which has, to date, claimed over 326,000 lives and sickened over 4.9 million people globally.

Mr. Trump posted a four-page letter to his Twitter feed with the warning Monday evening and gave Mr. Tedros 30 days to make fundamental reforms. The United States reported 45,251 new cases on Tuesday, according to the agency, while Russian Federation had the second-most reported new cases Tuesday at 9,263.

Pressed on the ultimatum, Tedros said only: "We have received the letter and we are looking into it".

"This review will ensure we have a complete and transparent understanding of the source, timeline of events, and decision-making process for the WHO's response to the COVID-19 pandemic", he said. "But it's also reminded us that for all our differences, we are one human race, and we are stronger together". Some 3,000 patients are taking part in the trials in 320 hospitals across 17 countries.

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