WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Photo: AFP

The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) has come out in its defence over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic after the global community led by some of the most advanced nations including the United States criticised the World health body for being rather lackadaisical and ill prepared in its approach in tackling the grave pandemic crisis . Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said countries should have listened to the agency after it declared a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern" on 30 January, when there were 82 cases outside China and no deaths, the BBC reported on Monday."The world should have listened to WHO then, carefully," he told reporters.

We advised the whole world to implement a comprehensive public health approach, and we said: 'Find, test, isolate, and do contact tracing'. You can check for yourselves: countries who followed that are in a better position than others."

While Bill and Melinda Gates have been vocal about their support for the World Health Organisation during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, here are five instances that the WHO did make statements that the world noticed, only to retract last minute

Praising China’s initial handling of the outbreak: When the coronavirus started spreading in China, Chinese authorities told the United Nations that the virus was spread from animals to humans and it was highly unlikely that human-to-human transmission was possible. WHO also praised China’s handling of the outbreak in the country, until Chinese medical staff confirmed that the virus was indeed contagious. This was three weeks after the Wuhan outbreak first came to light. China finally let the WHO enter that country.

Delaying announcing the pandemic: The WHO declared that the coronavirus a pandemic on March 11. At the time, the world had reported 1,18,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people had lost their lives. The WHO faced flak for their delayed response in declaring the pandemic, as experts felt that early detection and reaction could have reduced the spread of the virus.

Misinformation about pets contracting coronavirus: Earlier, WHO had stated in its myth-busters:

Q: Can pets at home spread the new #Coronavirus (2019-nCOV)?

A: At present there is no such evidence that companions animals/pets such as dogs, cats can be infected with the virus. However, it's always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets.

However, the WHO proceeded to delete that bit from its myth-busters page.

Since then, two dogs have been declared COVID-19 positive, a tiger and two cats, too, were infected with the novel coronavirus.

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