CHINA was not sincere in reporting its Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections when the pandemic broke out in Wuhan, hence the need for a probe into China and the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) hand in the prevailing global health crisis, United States (US) envoy to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Brian Nicholas has said.
By Michael Gwarisa `
Ambassador Nicholas said this during an interview with ZIFM Stereo, a local radio station. He said President Donal Trump was justified to call for an inquest into China and the WHO as they both did not act in good faith.
When you look at the WHO response, there have been serious problems with their response from the beginning. And I think the President was fully justified to demand a better performance and an investigation for 60 to 90 days to figure out exactly what happened at the beginning.
“Let’s keep in mind that the United States has been the largest donor to WHO for its entire history, and what we are talking about is future funding for WHO while this investigation is going on. But if you look at some of the things that happened, obviously China did not report –as it was required to do – that it had a health crisis of international concern within its borders,” said Ambassador Nicholas.
He added that the WHO deliberately ignored calls for a probe into what was happening in Wuhan by neighbors such as Taiwan and in the process exposed the rest of the world to global health calamity.
“The WHO did not accept the red flags that were raised by Taiwan as they observed what was going on in Wuhan. And the WHO was very slow to move on this at the global level going forward. So I think the President was absolutely correct to take the steps that he has taken. But you know this is a temporary measure, 60 to 90 days, so we are going to have to see what happens after that.”
He added that even though the US goverbnemtn has suspended funding to the WHO, in Zimbabwe they were still continuing with the programming that has already been funded for WHO implementation- US$470,000 in COVID-19 response.
“We will continue to work with them on the response here as well as working with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and other development partners. We are all in this together, but we all have to uphold the standards that are necessary in professionalism and that’s all we are asking. Well, I think there was a lot of dissembling by the Communist Party of China and what they reported to the WHO.
“And I think the WHO was under an obligation to look into that more carefully and to hold them to a higher standard, well, to the high standard that all countries are held to at the time. So I think that’s the concern that our President has expressed and I fully support those concerns. I think that there are a lot of questions that still remain to be answered at the global level.”
Meanwhile, Ambassador Nicholas added that they have provided over a billion dollars in health care assistance to Zimbabwe that has been focused largely on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
“We have also cooperated on many other health issues over the last two decades, or really I should say since independence, and we’re going to continue to do that. We have just announced yesterday (Wednesday, April 22) additional assistance for COVID-19 which brings our bilateral assistance for COVID-19 for Zimbabwe up to about US$3 million. I expect that we will be announcing further assistance in the coming days.