WASHINGTON — World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus traveled to China before refusing to declare the coronavirus a pandemic, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday.
In an interview with Fox News, Pompeo lashed into the United Nations agency — which is facing mounting scrutiny over how it responded to the crisis — and said it “failed in its mission.”
“We know that the leader of that organization traveled to China and then declined to declare it a pandemic until everyone in the world knew that was already true,” Pompeo said, without providing further details of Tedros’ visit to China.
“It’s unfortunate, this is not the first time there has been a virus go around the world from inside of China and it’s not the first on the WHO has failed in its mission,” Pompeo continued.
“We have an obligation to the American people to do our best to make sure that we fix that, that would prevent those thing from ever happening again,” he said.
The Trump administration this month announced it was freezing US payments to the WHO, which it accused of “severely mismanaging and covering up” the COVID-19 outbreak, which originated in Wuhan in December.
Canada last week also announced it wanted an investigation into the agency’s handling of the pandemic.
Tedros criticized President Trump when he imposed a ban on flights from China on Jan. 31, claiming the ban would incite “fear and stigma, with little public health benefit.”
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