The director-general of the World Health Organization sent a strong message to world leaders and the media on Wednesday: “Stop politicizing the coronavirus if you don’t want to see more bags with corpses.”
Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus made the remarks during his regular pandemic update press conference, after being confronted by journalists after receiving criticism from various countries for his response to the pandemic.
The leader of the World Health Organization emphasized that, as a former minister of Ethiopia, he understood that it was a difficult task to separate the virus from politics, but that it would take advantage of these weaknesses and would be more difficult to defeat.
You cannot use COVID-19 to earn political points, and there is no need.
“Ultimately, people belong to all political parties; the mission of all parties must be to save their people, please do not politicize this virus. It will exploit the differences we have at the national level. If you want to have more bags with corpses, then do it, but if you don’t want more dead, you have to avoid politicizing this virus. My message is, please quarantine the COVID-19, national unity will be very important to defeat this dangerous virus, “he said.
The official explained that, as it is a new virus, so serious and dangerous, it is possible that mistakes have been made, so the Organization it leads conducts regular evaluations to identify weaknesses and strengths, and to learn.
Precisely, Tedros stressed on Wednesday, and the World Health Organization is not with one country or another, but with all States.
“We are next to all nations, we do not look color, for us rich or poor is the same, for us, weak or strong is the same, small or large is the same, north or south, east or west, is what himself,” he said.
The WHO director said he received criticism last year after choosing the head of the Organization’s nursing department because she was from the Cook Islands.
“People did not want the global head of nursing to come from a small country like the Cook Islands, which only has 10,000 people, but I think that talent is universal, the opportunity is not. You can find the most talented person in a small country like that. We work with them, with Cook Islands that have 10,000 inhabitants and we work with China that has 1.4 billion. And why did we choose her? Is Cook Islands influencing us? And how? We see everyone the same, “reiterated the official.
Tedros took the opportunity to thank the United States for their contributions to the Organization and assured that this has always been in a bipartisan spirit, which he hopes will continue.
“We need solidarity now more than ever. Everything that begins in one place affects everyone, we cannot live on our national borders, because we are interdependent. And that is what I hope and believe will continue in the United States,” he said.
Victim of insults and even death threats
“I am only an individual; Tedros is a point in the entire universe. I don’t care if they attack me; I prefer to save lives. I’ve said it many times, why would I care if they attack me when people are dying? Let’s compare both things, and we are losing lives right now. Why is someone with a clear conscience going to think about their personal attacks and ignore the great challenge that we are facing as humanity? Said the WHO leader.
The director had harshly criticized a suggestion by a group of European scientists that coronavirus vaccines be tested first in Africa, calling it racist.
“Personal attacks have been going on for more than three months, abuse, or racist comments, and they give me a name, they call me black. I am proud to be black, and I do not care about those things, even death threats I have received, I do not care, because this is personal, it is towards me. What makes me sad is when the entire African community is insulted, I will not tolerate it, I said there, people are crossing the line . When I was personal, I didn’t care, I didn’t even respond, but as a community when they start insulting us, it’s enough. We cannot tolerate this, “said the official.
Since then, WHO has worked day and night in five key areas:
- Helping countries develop their preparedness and response capacity.
- Providing accurate information to combat disinformation
- Working hard to ensure the supply of essential medical equipment for health workers
- Training and mobilizing health workers
- Accelerating research and developmen
Other key data:
- The UN Supply Chain Task Force COVID-19 has been launched to dramatically increase the supply of these life-saving tools and match supply to needs
- In February, more than 400 of the world’s top researchers were brought together to identify and accelerate research priorities, and Solidarity Trial launched in March, with more than 90 countries working together to find effective therapies for the coronavirus as soon as possible.