President Trump today savaged the ‘China centric’ World Health Organization and said he wanted the group looked into before any more U.S. dollars flow to Beijing.
‘They called it wrong, they called it wrong, they missed the call,’ Trump said during Tuesday’s White House press briefing. ‘They should have known and they probably did know,’ he said, suggesting the WHO was withholding information about the coronavirus.
Trump’s main beef with the United Nations health group is that leadership there said it wasn’t necessary to bar travelers coming in from China as the coronavirus started spreading beyond Wuhan, where it originated.
The president has followed the lead of prominent conservatives in complaining that the WHO has been too friendly to China during the coronavirus outbreak.
‘The WHO, that’s the World Health Organization, receives vast amounts of money from the United States and we pay for a majority, the biggest portion of their money, and they actually criticized and disagreed with my travel ban at the time I did it,’ Trump said near the top of the briefing. ‘And they were wrong. They’ve been wrong about a lot of things.’
‘And they had a lot of information early and they didn’t want to – they seemed to be very China centric,’ he said, changing the point he was trying to make mid-sentence.
It comes as the people of Wuhan today were allowed to emerge from their homes for the first time since January 23. And while the world had looked on at those measures with consternation – as the WHO reassured us the virus was a regional problem – most developed countries have now adopted the same stringent ‘stay at home’ rules.
The COVID-19 death tolls today recorded in Italy (17,127), Spain (14,045), the US (12,823), France (10,328), the UK (6,159) and Iran (3,872), have exceeded the 3,331 recorded by the ruling Communist Party in China.
President Trump attacked the World Health Organization on Tuesday calling it too ‘China centric’ and suggesting that it was hiding information about the coronavirus from the rest of the world
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, annoyed Trump by saying that travel didn’t need to be stopped from China in the early weeks of the coronavirus outbreak
Later in the briefing Trump threatened to cut off their supply of money from the United States.
‘We’re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO. We’re going to put a very powerful hold on it. And we’re going to see,’ Trumps said. It’s a great thing when it works but when they call every shot wrong that’s not good.’
‘They are always on the side of China,’ Trump also complained.
Later when the president was asked if it was a smart move to cut off funds to the major global health organization during a global pandemic he backed away from the definitiveness of his previous threat.
‘I’m not saying I’m going to do it, but I’m going to look at it,’ Trump pledged.
Later, Trump was asked why he thought the WHO was ‘China centric.’
‘I don’t know, they seem to comd down on the side of China,’ the president responded. ‘Don’t close your borders to China, don’t do this, they don’t report what’s really going on, they didn’t see it and yet they were there. They didn’t see what was going on in Wuhan … they must have seen it, but they didn’t report it.’
Trump had previewed his attack earlier Tuesday on Twitter.
Trump suggested he might cut the U.S.’s funding that goes toward WHO, calling the United Nations agency ‘very China centric’
The coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China – where Chinese authorities lifted a travel ban on April 8. Conservative allies of Trump have said WHO helped China cover-up the outbreak
‘The W.H.O. really blew it,’ Trump wrote. ‘For some reason, funded largely by the United States yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look.’
Trump was following the lead of American conservatives including Florida Sen. Rick Scott who placed blame on WHO for ‘helping Communist China cover up a global pandemic.’
At the same time, Democratic governors, lawmakers and pundits have condemned Trump’s response in combatting the virus, suggesting he did too little, too late.
On January 31, the Trump administration announced travel restrictions on people coming from China due to the outbreak.
Vintage: A tweet from the WHO which hasn’t aged well, pumping out the disinformation fed to it by Beijing about the virus, which it was reticent to declare a pandemic
But on February 3, WHO said such bans were not needed.
‘Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on,’ Trump tweeted Tuesday.
‘Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?’ the president asked.
WHO is also still not recommending that every person wears a mask, while the U.S.’s Centers of Disease Control made the voluntary recommendation last week.
GOP lawmakers have floated that it’s because the WHO is under China’s spell.
Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, said WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus should resign because ‘he allowed Beijing to use the WHO to mislead the global community.’
As did Sen. Martha McSally, an Arizona Republican.
‘They need to come clean and another piece of this is, the WHO has to stop covering for them,’ she said of China. ‘I think Dr. Tedros needs to step down,’ McSally said on Fox Business Network.
‘We need to take some actions to address this issue. It’s just irresponsible, it’s unconscionable what they have done here while we have people dying across the globe,’ McSally added.
Scott, the Florida senator, said the Senate Homeland Security Committee needed to launch an investigation into WHO’s handling of the virus.
In late January, Tedros complimented China’s President Xi Jinping for the country’s handling of the virus, as the Chinese leader centralized the response after local officials in Wuhan couldn’t keep the outbreak under control.
A passenger wearing a protective face mask stands with her luggage next to the first official train departing from Wuhan on a first day of ending more than a two-month lockdown on Wednesday
Passengers go through the security and body temperatures check on a first day of ending more than a two-month lockdown
A woman wearing protective gear waits to board one of the first trains to leave Wuhan after the lockdown ended on Wednesday morning
People wearing protective clothing and masks arrive at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan, to board one of the first trains leaving the city in China’s central Hubei province early on April 8
But Xi also controlled the flow of information, with reports coming out of China that the country had been trying to silence whistleblowers.
Last week Bloomberg News reported on a U.S. intelligence report that said China was underreporting its coronavirus numbers of cases and deaths.
Trump voiced that he, too, has been skeptical of China’s reporting.
WHO has been criticized for taking Chinese data at face value.
‘Their numbers seem to be a little bit on the light side, and I’m being nice when I say that,’ Trump said at a daily briefing.
WHO is part of the United Nations and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It has 194 members and two associate members.
WHO is funded in two ways – through assessed contributions and voluntary contributions.
The assessed contributions, which are like dues to the organization, are calculated by looking at a country’s wealth and population.
While the U.S. pays the most in assessed contributions, that full pot of money has only accounted for less than 25 per cent of WHO’s haul over the past few years.
However, Americans NGOs and charity organizations, along with taxpayer dollars, do make up the biggest chunk of the WHO’s funding.
Boris Johnson could be off work at least a month: Experts warn the PM’s recovery from shock of intensive care may last into summer as stand-in Dominic Raab brands him ‘a fighter’
By Jason Groves
Boris Johnson faces between one and two months off work even if he makes a full recovery, scientists warned ahead of the coronavirus-stricken premier’s third night in hospital.
Experts said a ‘period of inactivity’ in intensive care would result in the Prime Minister suffering a significant loss of muscle mass and strength.
They forecast Mr Johnson would be physically drained from fighting the virus, for which he has received oxygen in St Thomas’ Hospital in central London.
Survivors who have been discharged from critical care also braced Mr Johnson for weeks of bed-rest to recuperate from the energy-sapping disease, drawing on their own ‘horrendous’ experiences of the road to recovery.
The Prime Minister (pictured on Thursday evening), who was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital in London last night, was taken to intensive care at 7pm this evening
Mr Johnson would be physically drained from fighting the virus, for which he is still being treated in St Thomas’ in central London (an ICU is explained)
Such an extensive period out of action would see him watch from the wings as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab steers the country through its critical phase of the UK’s epidemic as cases peak.
Mr Raab, who is deputising for Mr Johnson in his senior role as first secretary of state, yesterday confirmed a further 786 people have lost their lives, taking the death toll to 6,159, while cases rose by 3,634 to 55,242.
Downing Street reassured the 55-year-old PM’s condition was stable and he ‘remains in good spirits’, while not currently in need of ventilation.
And Mr Raab said he was confident his ‘boss and friend’ would pull through, branding him a ‘fighter’ who was in ‘safe hands’.
The Queen yesterday led an outpouring of goodwill towards Mr Johnson, wishing him a ‘speedy recovery’ and sending a personal message to his pregnant fiancée Carrie Symonds and his wider family.
At yesterday’s Downing Street press briefing, Mr Raab declared: ‘I’m confident he’ll pull through because if there’s one thing I know about this Prime Minister, he’s a fighter and he’ll be back at the helm leading us through this crisis in short order.’
But, with Mr Johnson heading for a second night in intensive care with coronavirus, senior Tories privately remained cautious about predicting a speedy return to the frontline.
One said: ‘It still feels like a very dangerous moment. I don’t think any of us will be able to relax until he is out of intensive care and clearly on the mend.’
When Mr Johnson began self-isolating with symptoms 13 days ago, he resolved to remain at the helm of government from his Number 11 flat.
But scientists last night extinguished the notion of him instantly resuming charge of government upon his discharge from hospital.
Having observed Boris Johnson as a journalistic colleague over more than 30 years, I cannot think of anyone less temperamentally suited to the strictures and isolation of life in this lockdown. Pictured: irrepressible Boris and fiancee Carrie on election night
However, the fact Mr Johnson hasn’t yet been put on a ventilator, particularly in the first 24 hours of his admission to intensive care, has greatly improved his prognosis.
Research has found that 84 per cent of patients in intensive care who only require basic respiratory support leave the unit alive.
This compares to just 33 per cent of those who need advanced respiratory support – such as ventilation – according to data from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre.