U.S. urges WHO begin independent review of COVID-19 management 'immediately'

U.S. urges WHO begin independent review of COVID-19 management ‘immediately’

The U.S. is calling on the World Health Organization to “immediately” launch an independent review of the United Nations-backed agency’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a Friday letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Adm. Brett P. Giroir, the U.S. assistant secretary for health, praised the recent global support for an inquiry, but said the probe should begin “now.”

“We believe the WHO Secretariat can immediately initiate organizational processes for the review, pulling together independent public health experts and establishing terms of reference in keeping with the resolution, and it can do this in such a manner as to not interfere with WHO’s pandemic response,” Adm. Giroir wrote.

Mr. Tedros this week endorsed the rising calls for an inquiry into the origins and handling of the pandemic, and said it will happen “at the earlier appropriate moment.”

A European Union-led resolution supporting an independent investigation was unanimously approved by the 187-member states that make up WHO.

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

Mr. Trump posted a four-page letter to his Twitter feed with the warning Monday evening and gave Mr. Tedros 30 days to make fundamental reforms. He alleged a series of missteps and kowtows to China that WHO had made in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“As President Trump just made clear in his May 18 letter to Director-General Tedros, there is no time to waste to begin on the reforms needed to ensure such a pandemic never happens again,” Adm. Giroir wrote.

“We applaud the call for an impartial, independent, and comprehensive review, to be undertaken in consultation with Member States, and urge that work begin now.”

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