US demands review of WHO's handling of pandemic starts now, seeks reforms

106,000 COVID-19 cases recorded in 24hrs — highest toll in a single day

U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar told the assembly on Monday: "We must be frank about one of the primary reasons this outbreak spun out of control: there was a failure by this organisation to obtain the information that the world needed, and that failure cost many lives".

Reacting to the new numbers of cases of coronavirus, Trump said it is "a badge of honor" that the United States has the world's highest number.

World Health Organization emergencies director Michael Ryan said the five million cases mark would be a "tragic milestone".

The resolution, which emerged from the United Nations health body's first-ever virtual summit, also requested the organization's director to continue to work to identify the animal source of the virus as well as how it spread to humans, in collaboration with the World Organization for Animal Health, its Food and Agriculture Organization and member countries.

The new figures come after states around the world have been dramatically ramping up their testing programmes. But the pandemic is still unfolding.

"We're not just fighting an epidemic; we're fighting an infodemic", said World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

As WHO convened ministers of health from nearly every country in the world, the consistent message throughout the two-day meeting-including from the 14 heads of state participating in the opening and closing sessions -was that global unity is the most powerful tool to combat the outbreak.

Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO's executive director emergencies, spoke about the resolution adopted by the organization's 194 member states, including the U.S., sponsored by the European Union on behalf of more than 100 countries, including Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and Turkey.

Tedros said an assessment had already been made in another independent report.

Pressed on the ultimatum, Tedros said only: "We have received the letter and we are looking into it". "So, this is in the WHO's DNA", said Tedros.

"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.

"At this stage, (neither) hydroxychloroquine nor chloroquine have been as yet found to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19 nor in the prophylaxis against coming down with the disease", Ryan said.

Despite these concerns, the Brazilian health ministry issued new guidelines on Wednesday approving wider use of the two drugs in mild coronavirus cases.



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