World Health Organization to set up independent inquiry into COVID-19 pandemic

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Salvatore di Nolfi  EPA

Mr Ghebreyesus said the resolution by the World Health Assembly on Tuesday sets out a clear roadmap of the critical activities and actions that must be taken to sustain and accelerate the response at the national and worldwide levels.

President Trump has threatened to withdraw the USA from the group and permanently cut off all funding to the agency.

"We still have a long way to go in this pandemic", Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said in a virtual conference on Wednesday, May 20.

He added, "We still have a long way to go in this pandemic".

"We've seen many South American countries with increasing numbers of cases and clearly there's a concern across many of those countries, but certainly the most affected is Brazil at this point,"Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's emergencies program, said at a news briefing from the agency's Geneva headquarters on Friday".

The WHO chief said if the resolution is implemented, it would ensure a more coherent, coordinated and fairer response that saves both lives and livelihoods.

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"But two thirds of these cases were reported in just four countries", Mr Ghebreyesus said.

Reacting to the new numbers of cases of coronavirus, Trump said it is "a badge of honor" that the United States has the world's highest number.

Trump made public later Tuesday a letter he sent to Tedros, saying that if the World Health Organization did not commit to "major substantive improvements" within 30 days, he would permanently freeze funding to the organisation and reconsider U.S. membership. He has repeatedly criticized the WHO for its early response to the outbreak and praise for China, at a time when Trump's own response of the outbreak in the United States -the largest in the world - has come under criticism.

Meanwhile, Teros said he has received a letter from Trump, but didn't want to comment further.

"This review will ensure we have a complete and transparent understanding of the source, timeline of events, and decision-making process for the WHO's response to the COVID-19 pandemic", he said. The United States reported 45,251 new cases on Tuesday, according to the agency, while Russian Federation had the second-most reported new cases Tuesday at 9,263. Several studies have cast doubt on the efficacy of the drug as a treatment for Covid-19.

Questions are being raised by some countries, including the United States, about whether WHO's warning system for alerting the world to outbreaks is adequate, and suggesting that member states might need to "reassess" its role in providing travel advice to countries.

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