WHO’s most important assets are credibility and authority. The WHO has lost a lot of capital due to awkwardness and failures in the corona crisis. Examples are unclear statements by WHO officials about wearing a mask and the days of hesitation at the end of January to declare a worldwide health emergency. US President Trump accuses WHO of serving as a “PR agency” for China and not warning the world of the virus early enough. He suspended US grant to WHO.
“One of the most dangerous and costly decisions by WHO was the disastrous decision to speak out against travel restrictions from China and other countries,” Trump continued. The WHO should have acted faster. “That would have saved thousands of lives and prevented global economic damage,” the US president claimed.
Indeed, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus showered praise on China for a long time. At the end of January, Ethiopia’s former foreign minister and ex-health minister said: “China is currently setting new standards in response to an outbreak.”
Even then, there were strong doubts about China’s corona policy. The long-standing advice to the member countries to maintain travel and the exchange of goods with China is also a major WHO mistake. It was in China’s economic interest. As of February 29, the WHO recommended that no restrictions be introduced.