WHO emergency committee to meet Thursday to evaluate pandemic

AFP , Wednesday 29 Apr 2020

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
File Photo: WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Reuters)

The World Health Organisation said its emergency committee will meet on Thursday to assess the coronavirus pandemic, the first such talks since it declared the disease an international emergency three months ago.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has come under fire over how the UN health agency has handled the outbreak that first emerged in China in December and has now spread worldwide, infecting more than three million people and killing nearly 220,000.

Tedros said he would convene the experts who make up the emergency committee on Thursday "to evaluate the evolution of the pandemic".

He said on Monday the WHO had warned that the COVID-19 outbreak constituted a "public health emergency of international concern" on January 30, when there were no deaths and only 82 cases registered outside China.

"The world should have listened to WHO then, carefully," he told a virtual press briefing.

The organisation has faced scathing criticism from US President Donald Trump, who earlier this month suspended Washington's funding after accusing WHO of downplaying the seriousness of the outbreak and kowtowing to China.

Trump has provided no evidence to support his claims.

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