A clearly distressed W.H.O. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wiped tears from his eyes Thursday as he blasted a global “lack of leadership and solidarity” during the coronavirus crisis, pleading with world figures to unite and back his troubled organization.
“How is it difficult for humans to unite and fight a common enemy that is killing people indiscriminately?” Tedros pleaded between long breaths and deep pauses that punctuated his dewy-eyed speech in Geneva, Switzerland.
“Are we unable to distinguish or identify the common enemy? Can’t we understand that the divisions and the cracks between us are an advantage for the virus?”
Untroubled by the irony leadership was exactly what the world wanted from him and the W.H.O. rather than the other way around during the crisis, Tedros urged countries to “open up” to scrutiny during an impending international investigation into the deadly pandemic to be headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.
The long-standing member of the Marxist-Leninist Ethiopian party said he had warned “for years” of an approaching pandemic, but nobody chose to believe him.
“For years, many of us warned that a catastrophic respiratory pandemic was inevitable,” he said.
“It was not a question of if, but when. But still, despite all the warnings, the world was not ready. Our systems were not ready. Our communities were not ready. Our supply chains collapsed.
“It is time for a very honest reflection. All of us must look in the mirror — the World Health Organisation, every member state, all involved in the response. Everyone.”
The Tedros call for open inquiry into the handling of the epidemic comes in the wake of solid criticism that neither he nor the W.H.O. have done anything but act in the interests of China since the virus was first detected in the southern chinese city of Wuhan last November.
His own behaviour has also been questioned.
Bizarre tweets from embattled W.H.O. General Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus confuse and confound https://t.co/BIQiQcEjlg
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) April 22, 2020
For her part, the left-wing Clark has previously claimed the W.H.O. was “left out to dry” by a lack of support from the United Nations Security Council and the G20.
“Its toxic geopolitics have stopped it doing anything useful at all,” Clark said of the powerful Security Council in May.
Even before she had heard a single word of evidence as part of her inquiry, the New Zealander stressed she was a “defender” of the W.H.O. because “in the circumstances, it’s done the best job it could.”
“But it needs member states to follow its advice, it needs member states like China to report very rapidly when they detect there is a new virus on the move which could cause a pandemic, and of course neither of these two things happened.”
Coronavirus has killed more than 550,000 people worldwide – and the global total of reported cases has surpassed the 12 million mark, according to the latest tally from Johns Hopkins University.