Geneva: The World Health Organization on Wednesday expressed concern about the increase in new coronavirus cases in poor countries, although many rich countries have begun to rise from the blockade.
The global health agency said that in the past 24 hours, 106,000 new cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded, the most in a single day since the outbreak.
“We still have a long way to go in this pandemic,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference. “We are very concerned about rising cases in low and middle income countries.”
Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, said: “We will soon reach the tragic milestone of 5 million cases.”
WHO is under fire from US President Donald Trump. Donald Trump accused it of not properly handling the outbreak and favored China, which is believed to have appeared at the end of last year. Trump this week threatened to withdraw from the WHO and withhold funds permanently.
Tedros admitted to receiving a letter from Trump, but declined to comment further.
Tedros said he is committed to accountability and will review the pandemic. Member States requested this review in a resolution passed by consensus this week, although the United States expressed reservations about some of its content.
“I said it time and time again that WHO calls for accountability more than anyone. It has to be done and when it’s done it has to be a comprehensive one,” Tedros said of the review, while declining to say when it would start.
Ryan said such assessments are normally conducted after an emergency is over.
“I for one would prefer, right now, to get on with doing the job of an emergency response, of epidemic control, of developing and distributing vaccines, of improving our surveillance, of saving lives and distributing essential PPE to workers and finding medical oxygen for people in fragile settings, reducing the impact of this disease on refugees and migrants,” he said.
Tedros said he has been looking for other sources of funding for WHO for a long time. He said that his $ 2.3 billion budget is “very, very small” for a global institution, about the size of a medium-sized hospital in developed countries budget.
Ryan may further upset Trump in his comments, saying that people should avoid using the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat or prevent coronavirus infections, unless it is part of a clinical trial to conduct research.
Trump said he was taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus infection.
“At this stage, (neither) hydroxychloroquine nor chloroquine have been as yet found to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19 nor in the prophylaxis against coming down with the disease,” Ryan said. “In fact, the opposite, in that warnings have been issued by many authorities regarding the potential side effects of the drug.”