Coronavirus: Trump claims WHO ‘knew exactly what was going on’ and endangered millions of lives

Coronavirus: Trump claims WHO ‘knew exactly what was going on’ and endangered millions of lives


Coronavirus: Trump claims WHO ‘knew exactly what was going on’ and endangered millions of lives 1

Donald Trump has claimed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) knowingly allowed the coronavirus to spread beyond China and accused European nations of ‘unleashing the contagion around the world’.

His comments, in an address from the White House, came after he suspended funding for the UN agency, saying it had ‘mismanaged’ and ‘covered-up’ the spread of the disease.

The president used the latest coronavirus task force briefing to berate the WHO for opposing his introduction of a travel ban on China at the beginning of February.


“Over the objections of the WHO we took decisive action and early life saving action to suspend travel from China,” said Mr Trump.

“They didn’t want to do it. They were angry that we did it. It was early on, they were angry that we did it. Took them a long time to release what was going [on] but I have a feeling they knew exactly what was going on.”

The WHO declared a global health emergency on January 30 when seven cases of the coronavirus had been confirmed by the US Centres for Disease and Prevention (CDC).

Mr Trump then announced on January 31 that foriegn nationals entering the US from China would be banned.

He said on Wednesday: “Tragically other nations put their trust in the WHO and they didn’t do any form of ban and you see what happened to Italy, you see what happened to Spain, you see what happened to France.”

New York Times data suggests that the State Department’s advisory travel ban permitted almost 40,000 Americans and authorised travellers to enter the US from China since it was issued on February 4.

Meanwhile, Italian authorities introduced a complete ban – without exemptions – on all arrivals from China on January 31.

The US president continued to use European nations as a scapegoat for his handling of the pandemic on Wednesday, saying that “WHO’s guidance had failed to control their borders at a very crucial phase, quickly unleashing the contagion around the world.”

“That was a horrible tragic mistake or perhaps they knew,” he added.

Whilst the WHO did condemn president Trump’s move to partially close US borders, it did so on the basis that travel bans “have the effect of increasing fear and stigma, with little public health benefit,”, said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in February.

Democrats and diseases experts opposed Mr Trump’s ban on the basis that the disease had already begun spreading inside the US and internationally.


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