The Taiwanese government also accuses the World Health Organization of mishandling the crisis of COVID-19
The US president affirmed that the WHO mismanaged the crisis on COVID-19. / Photo: Flickr.com/White House
LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza
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Leer en español: ¿Donald Trump tiene razón y la OMS mintió?
On April 14, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, announced that he would suspend the funds to the World Health Organization (WHO) while they review the "role of WHO in the mismanagement and cover-up of the spread of the coronavirus ”. The reason for making this decision is that, according to the president, the organization failed to investigate how the virus is transmitted, which led to a wider spread of the coronavirus.
It should be noted that COVID-19 is transmitted from person to person and that the WHO initially encouraged keeping the borders open with China. According to Trump, "the decision of other important countries to keep travel open was one of the great tragedies and opportunities lost from the first days."
The suspension of appeals has not been without criticism and has raised voices of alert. For example, the UN Secretary-General, António Gutérres assured that “this is not the time to reduce resources for the operation of the WHO or any other humanitarian organization in the fight against the virus. As I said before, it is time for unity for the international community to work together in solidarity so that this virus and its devastating consequences stop. ”
For his part, through a statement, Dr. Patrice A. Harris, president of the American Medical Association (AMA), noted that "combating a global pandemic requires international cooperation and dependence on science and the data. Cutting funds for WHO, rather than focusing on solutions, is a dangerous move at a precarious time for the world. "
But the controversy does not end there. Following Trump's remarks, the Taiwanese government revealed that it sent an email to the WHO alerting about COVID-19 and the WHO reportedly would not have acted accordingly. The Taiwanese government had claimed that in December it notified WHO of suspicions that the virus was spread from person to person. However, last Friday, April 10, the WHO denied the information.
In response, the Taiwan Center for Disease Control released a statement revealing the mail sent on December 31, 2019. The document notes that “The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control learned of sources in line that there had been at least seven cases of atypical pneumonia in Wuhan, China. In China, the term 'atypical pneumonia' is commonly used to refer to SARS, a human-borne disease caused by the coronavirus. ”
The statement also specifies that "on December 31, 2019, Taiwan sent an email to the focal point of the International Health Regulations (IHR) of the World Health Organization (WHO), informing WHO about its understanding of the disease and also requesting more information from the WHO ”.
The WHO, according to the Taiwan Control Center, did not respond to questions asked by the entity. “In response to our questions, the WHO IHR coordinator only responded with a short message saying that the information from Taiwan had been sent to fellow experts; China only provided a press release. "
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Finally it is explained that “although Taiwan strongly suspected that person-to-person transmission of the disease was already occurring at the time, we were unable to obtain confirmation through existing channels. Therefore, on the day the email mentioned was sent to the WHO, the Taiwanese government activated enhanced border control and quarantine measures based on the assumption that person-to-person transmission was occurring. These measures included detecting passengers on flights from Wuhan before disembarkation. "
It is important to remember that Taiwan has been one of the countries that has best controlled the spread of the coronavirus. On April 9, only 9 deaths and 395 infected people had occurred. Additionally, it should be borne in mind that the WHO and Taiwan do not maintain good relations since the latter is not allowed to be a member state.
According to the BBC, the WHO recognizes as members those countries that belong to the UN and Taiwan is not recognized by the United Nations. The island is seen as a renegade portion of Chinese territory, despite the fact that they consider themselves an independent country.