‘That’s enough’ – Global leaders must unite to fight COVID-19: WHO briefing

COVID-19 is a new virus whose behavior is still not known.

In an impassioned briefing today, World Health Organization Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus turned up the volume on his regular appeals for global solidarity to fight the coronavirus pandemic, pleading for unity.

The briefing came a day after harsh criticism from the United States over the agency’s handling of the virus. The Director General noted that he had received other criticisms from other countries in the near 100 days since the WHO had been notified of the outbreak.

Responding to those criticisms, the Director General listed the efforts the agency had taken to contain the virus, including the Solidarity Trial assembling more than 90 countries globally to find effective therapeutics.

He also explained that COVID-19 is a new virus whose behavior is still not known.

Though the agency has worked day and night to issue guidelines, train health workers and drive other solutions, it acknowledged that the agency regularly assessed the strengths and weaknesses of its efforts. “We want to learn from our mistakes and move forward.”

During these months, the Director General acknowledged for the first time that he has been the target of racial remarks and even death threats. He stressed that he had put his focus on battling the virus and not any personal attacks.

“To me personally, I don’t mind. I prefer to really focus on saving lives,” he said. “Why would I care about being attacked when people are dying?”

“I know that I am just an individual. Tedros is a dot in the universe.”

The Director General called for leaders to avoid politicizing the virus, saying it will lead to more deaths.

“If you don’t want many more body bags than you refrain from politicizing it.”

Credit: weforum.org