WHO chief wishes Trump 'full and speedy recovery'

US President Donald Trump, who has COVID-19, is pulling the United States out of the UN health agency, which he accuses of botching its response to the pandemic that emerged in China and being too close to Beijing.

FILE: World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on 3 July 2020 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. Picture: AFP

GENEVA - Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, on Friday wished Donald Trump a swift recovery after the US president and his wife Melania caught COVID-19.

In a tweet, Ghebreyesus wished the couple "a full and speedy recovery" as he echoed well wishes from around the world.

Trump is pulling the United States out of the UN health agency, which he accuses of botching its response to the pandemic that emerged in China and being too close to Beijing.

In May, Trump said: "They're a puppet of China, they're China-centric to put it nicer... They gave us a lot of bad advice."

He accused the WHO of "severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus".

Trump charged, among other things, that the outbreak could have been contained "with very little death" if the WHO had accurately assessed the situation in China, where the respiratory disease broke out late last year.

The United States formally started its withdrawal from the WHO in July, making good on Trump's threats to deprive the organisation of its top donor.

Public health advocates and Trump's political opponents voiced outrage at the move.

Throughout the pandemic, Ghebreyesus has consistently hit out at divisions in the international community, warning of the consequences of a lack of solidarity.

Against the backdrop of Trump's criticisms, WHO member states in May agreed a resolution calling for an "impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation... to review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response" to the pandemic.

It said the probe should review WHO's "actions... and their timelines".

The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response is headed by former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark and former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The group intends to produce interim findings in November and a full report in May 2021.

WORLD LEADERS WISH TRUMP A SPEEDY RECOVERY

World leaders on Friday wished US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania a quick recovery following his announcement that they were quarantining after testing positive for coronavirus.

RUSSIA

"I am convinced that your vitality, good spirits and optimism will help you cope with this dangerous virus," the Kremlin quoted President Vladimir Putin as saying.

EU

"Wishing @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS a speedy recovery. Covid-19 is a battle we all continue to fight. Everyday. No matter where we live," European Union chief Charles Michel said in a tweet, referring also to the First Lady of the United States.

UK

"My best wishes to President Trump and the First Lady," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted. "Hope they both have a speedy recovery from coronavirus."

Johnson himself spent three nights in intensive care in April after contracting COVID-19.

INDIA

"Wishing my friend @POTUS @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS a quick recovery and good health," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter.

ISRAEL

"Like millions of Israelis, Sara and I are thinking of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and wish our friends a full and speedy recovery," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

POLAND

"Our good wishes for speedy recovery to our Friends @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS. #Poland and #USA will get through the hardships and succeed in fighting #COVID19," Polish President Andrzej Duda tweeted.

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