Coronavirus: Trump gives World Health Organization ultimatum over Covid-19 handling


The Chinese president also said that China along with the United Nations will set up a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China.

In his opening remarks at the World Health Organization meeting, Tedros held firm and sought to focus on the bigger troubles posed by the outbreak, saying "we have been humbled by this very small microbe".

More than 4.75 million people have been reported to have been infected globally and 314,414 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the event, saying several nations had ignored the WHO's recommendations. "Different countries have followed different, sometimes contradictory, strategies and we are all paying a heavy price".

Health workers handle plastic containers with Covid-19 test samples in Buenos Aires, Argentina. "It is time for an end to the hubris", he said.

"We all have lessons to learn from the pandemic".

Xi insisted that China had acted with "openness, transparency and responsibility" when the epidemic was detected in Wuhan.

"Every country and every organization must examine its response and learn from its experience", he said, adding that the review must cover "all actors in good faith".

Responding to a global demand for making COVID-19 vaccine, when available, free for all, Xi said: "COVID-19 vaccine, when available, will be a global public good".

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Despite growing tensions between the world's two largest economies, member states hoped the WHA would adopt a resolution aimed at fashioning a joint response, including commitments on equitable access to potential treatments and vaccines.

A resolution drafted by the European Union calling for an independent evaluation of the WHO's performance appeared to have won consensus backing among the WHO's 194 states.

The chance of unity and reaching an agreement on global measures to address the crisis could be threatened by steadily deteriorating relations between countries over the pandemic.

Trump said that unless World Health Organization commits to "substantive improvements over the next 30 days", he will make a temporary suspension of U.S. funding permanent.

A resolution tabled by the European Union called for an "impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation" of the worldwide response to the pandemic, which has so far infected almost 4.8 million people and killed more than 317,000. He said an independent evaluation would take place "at the earliest appropriate moment".

Tedros - who has never practised as a medical doctor - is a career politician who was born in what is now Eritrea, began work under the Communist Derg junta, came to study in the United Kingdom, then rose to the top of Ethiopia's government first as Health Minister and then Foreign Minister before being elected to lead the WHO in 2017.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and leaders from other countries addressed the opening via video link, expressing their support to the World Health Organization and multilateralism, as well as enhanced joint efforts in the global fight against COVID-19.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, "On the issue of the origin of the virus, all parties have agreed to International Health Regulation emergency committee suggested wording and (asked) the WHO chief to work in close collaboration with World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agricultural Organisation, and all countries to find out the animal source and the transmission routes of the virus..."