COVID-19: We didn’t hide anything from US – WHO

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The World Health Organisation insisted Monday that it sounded the alarm on the novel coronavirus right from the very start and had hidden nothing from Washington about the deadly pandemic.
WHO Chief, Tedros Adhanom, said there were no secrets at the UN agency after being blasted by the United States for allegedly downplaying the initial COVID-19 outbreak in China.
“We have been warning from day one that this is a devil that everyone should fight,” Tedros told a virtual briefing in Geneva.

The virus, which emerged late last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has so far infected more than 2.4 million people globally and killed more than 165,000, according to an AFP tally.
The United States has by far the highest death toll of any country, at more than 40,000 fatalities, and President Donald Trump has faced criticism over his handling of the pandemic.
Washington is the biggest contributor to the WHO but Trump is freezing funding, alleging that the organisation mismanaged and covered up the spread of the virus.

Tedros said the presence of embedded US government secondees working at the WHO headquarters in Geneva meant there was nothing being concealed from Washington.

The WHO said there were 15 staff from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US health protection agency, detailed specifically to work with the organisation on its COVID-19 response.
“Having CDC staff means there is nothing hidden from the US, from day one. Because these are Americans working with us. It just comes naturally and they tell what they are doing,” said Tedros.

“WHO is open. We don’t hide anything. Not only for CDC, them sending messages, or others – we want all countries to get the same message immediately because that helps countries to prepare well and to prepare quickly.”

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