World Health Organization says it alerted world to ‘potential’ for virus infections
The World Health Organization rejected US President Donald Trump’s condemnation of its response in a speech to the UN.
“No one gov’t controls us,” its communications director, Gabby Stern tweeted, adding: “On January 14 our #COVID19 technical lead told media of the potential for human-to-human transmission. Since February, our experts have publicly discussed transmission by people without symptoms or prior to symptoms.”
Trump said: “The Chinese government, and the World Health Organization – which is virtually controlled by China – falsely declared that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission.
“Later, they falsely said people without symptoms would not spread the disease … The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions.”
Although international law obliges countries to report information to WHO that could have an impact on public health, the U.N. agency has no enforcement powers and cannot independently investigate epidemics within countries. Instead, it must rely on the cooperation of member states.
The day WHO declared a global emergency on Janaury 30, the outbreak spread by a factor of 100 to 200 times, according to retrospective infection data from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.-Reuters/AP