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US faults WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) received praise from many countries but fierce criticism from the United States at it’s virtual assembly, as members sought to agree a joint response to COVID-19 — and assurances that any vaccine would be available to all.

“COVID-19 must be a wake-up call. It is time for an end to the hubris,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the virtual assembly.

“Either we get through this pandemic together, or we fail.”

The annual World Health Assembly (WHA) has this year been trimmed from the usual three weeks to just two days, and is focusing solely on the pandemic, which has killed over 315,000 people globally. Speaking by video-link, a wide range of country leaders and health ministers hailed the WHO’s efforts to coordinate the response, and urged more funding and stronger support for the UN agency. But US health secretary Alex Azar blamed the WHO for not obtaining or providing the information needed to stem the pandemic.

Reported by: Vincent Paul

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