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Covid-19: WHO chief says ‘the world should have listened then, carefully’

The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) has defended its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said countries should have listened to the agency after it declared a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” on 30 January, when there were 82 cases outside China and no deaths, the BBC reported on Monday.


“The world should have listened to WHO then, carefully,” he told reporters.

“We advised the whole world to implement a comprehensive public health approach, and we said: ‘Find, test, isolate, and do contact tracing’. You can check for yourselves: countries who followed that are in a better position than others.”

US President Donald Trump ordered the suspension of US funding to the agency after accusing it of “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus”.