The increased use of antibiotics in fighting COVID-19, could lead to more deaths – WHO reveals

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday, said the increased use of antibiotics in fighting COVID-19, could lead to more deaths.

WHO director-general, Tedros Ghebreyesus, speaking during a virtual press conference in Geneva, said a “worrying number” of bacterial infections were becoming increasingly resistant to the medicines traditionally used to treat them.

According to Ghebreyesus, the inappropriate use of antibiotics during the COVID-19 would further escalate the trend.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased use of antibiotics, which ultimately will lead to higher bacterial resistance rates that will impact the burden of disease and deaths during the pandemic and beyond,” he said

The WHO noted that only a small percentage of coronavirus patients needed antibiotics to treat subsequent bacterial infections.

Ghebreyesus added that there was an “overuse” of antibiotics in certain parts of the world, while in some other countries, such life-saving medicines were unavailable, “leading to needless suffering and death”.

Donald Trump “terminates relationship” with the WHO and blames it for spread of “Wuhan virus” as he accuses it of failing to make reforms

President Donald Trump announced on Friday that the United States was terminating its relationship with the World Health Organization as he laid down the gauntlet against China.

‘We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and directing those funds to worldwide and deserving, urgent global public health needs,’ he said during a press conference in the White House Rose Garden.

He blamed the move on China not being transparent enough about the ‘Wuhan’ virus, which is what he has called the coronavirus, and slammed Beijing’s over reach in Hong Kong.

Trump did not take questions at the Friday afternoon event, which the White House billed at a news conference. His less than 10 minutes of remarks were focused exclusively on the WHO, China and Hong Kong.

He ignored the other major news of the day: the death of George Floyd, the black Minnesota man who died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck. Trump’s tweets on the matter were muzzled by Twitter, which said they violated the company’s policy against ‘inciting violence.’ Trump had warned the ‘thugs’ protesting in Minneapolis he would send in the National Guard, adding that ‘looting leads to shooting.’

Trump tried to explain his words in another round of tweets shortly before his event – where reporters were expected to quiz him on it – by saying he was simply stating a fact and not making a threat.

He kept his event focused on China, but held back on announcing tough new sanctions on launching a full-scale trade war, keeping his punishment focused on the WHO.

‘China has total control over the World Health Organization, despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying, which is approximately $450 million a year. We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engage with them directly, but they have refused to act,’ Trump said.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu has defended his agency’s work and called for the world to come together to battle the coronavirus.

Trump has targeted China since he took office, starting a trade war with Beijing.

The president also has been a frequent critic of the WHO’s relationship with China, complaining the group didn’t do enough to push that country to release information about the coroanvirus, which was first detected in Wuhan.

China’s cover-up of the Wuhan virus allowed the disease to spread all over the world, instigating a global pandemic that has cost more than 100,000 American lives,’ he said.

Trump also announced Hong Kong’s role as a global financial center is at risk after China insisted on imposing a strict political crackdown of the territory.

‘I am directing my administration to begin the process of eliminating policy exemptions that give Hong Kong different and special treatment,’ he said.

‘We will be revising the state departments’ travel advisory for Hong Kong to reflect the increased danger of surveillance and punishment by the Chinese state security apparatus. We will take action to revoke Hong Kong’s preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory from the rest of China,’ he added.

The World Health Organization became a target of President Trump in his blame game as he points the finger for the devastating effects of the coronavirus – an economic down turn and over 100,000 American deaths – at everyone but his administration. Also feeling Trump’s fury has been China, the states, governors and the Democrats.

The president has called it ‘China-centric’ and complained they ‘missed the call’ when it came to the coronavirus.

Trump’s main beef with the United Nations health group is that leadership there said it wasn’t necessary to ban travelers coming in from China as the coronavirus started spreading beyond Wuhan, where it originated.

The president has bragged that his early ban of some travelers from China kept it from being a greater threat to the U.S.

Trump has followed the lead of prominent conservatives in complaining that the WHO has been too friendly to China during the coronavirus crisis.

The WHO is funded in two ways – through assessed contributions and voluntary contributions. The U.S. is its largest contributor.

The assessed contributions, which are like dues to the organization, are calculated by looking at a country’s wealth and population.

In its February budget proposal, the Trump administration called for slashing the U.S. contribution to the WHO in half from the previous fiscal year – from $122.6 million to $57.9 million.

While the U.S. pays the most in assessed contributions, that full pot of money has only accounted for less than 25 per cent of WHO’s haul over the past few years.

However, Americans NGOs and charity organizations, along with taxpayer dollars, do make up the biggest chunk of the WHO’s funding.

On January 31, the Trump administration announced travel restrictions on people coming from China due to the outbreak.

But WHO said such bans were not needed, noting that ‘travel bans to affected areas or denial of entry to passengers coming from affected areas are usually not effective in preventing the importation’ of coronavirus cases, but may instead ‘have a significant economic and social impact.’

And the group noted that ‘restricting the movement of people and goods during public health emergencies is ineffective in most situations and may divert resources from other interventions.’

‘Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on,’ Trump tweeted in early April when he first began to target the WHO.

‘Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?’ the president asked.

WHO Finally congratulates Madagascar, supports the country’s Covid-19 herbal remedy

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has sent its congratulations to Madagascar on its efforts in finding a potential discovery of a coronavirus cure, a herbal remedy, called COVID Organics.

The health organisation mended fences with the Southern African country, on Wednesday following a virtual meeting between the country and Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the WHO.

Andry Rajoelina, the President of Madagascar stated that the WHO declared their support for COVID Organics, reports.

Rajoelina, who made this known via Twitter, said the United Nations specialised agency on global health expressed its support for the clinical observation of the ‘tonic’ touted as cure for coronavirus.

He said, “Successful exchange with Tedros Ghebreyesus who commends Madagascar’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19 and congratulates us for the discovery of COVID Organics.

“WHO will sign a confidentiality clause on its formulation and will support the clinical observations process in Africa.”

The Madagascar President said the meeting followed the invitation by WHO to register the drug for clinical trials in fighting the coronavirus, adding that his country would prove the effectiveness of the COVID Organics.

Madagascar sent consignments of the herbal drug made from Artemisia annua to African nations.

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, received the consignment apportioned to Nigeria from President Umaro Embaló of Guinea Bissau on Saturday, saying it would be subjected to scientific validation.

UPDATES: Watch Madagascar President substantiating the 20million dollar WHO bribery claim, as more revelation pops up

In a shocking development the President of Madagascar has made a sensational claim that the WHO offered $20m bribe to poison COVID-19 cure. The herbal remedy called COVID-19 Organics made from Artemisia can cure COVID-19 patients within ten days said the President. He also raised the question that if it was a European country that had actually discovered this remedy, would there be so much doubt?
The President of Madagascar Andry Rajoelina has accused the World Health Organisation of a plot to have its COVID-19 Organics, the local African ‘cure’ for the virus poisoned. Rajoelina claims WHO offered a $20 million bribe to poisoned their medicine, Tanzania Perspective reported on the front-page of its 14th May edition.

The President of Madagascar believes the only reason the rest of the world has refused to treat Madagascar’s cure for the coronavirus with urgency and respect is that the remedy comes from Africa.
WHO Offered $20M Bribe To Poison COVID-19 Cure says the President of Madagascar as reported by Tanzania Perspective

In an interview with French media, President Rajoelina reportedly said he has noticed what he believes stems from usual condescension toward Africans.

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“I think the problem is that (the drink) comes from Africa and they can’t admit… that a country like Madagascar… has come up with this formula to save the world.”
“What is the problem with Covid-Organics, really? Could it be that this product comes from Africa? Could it be that it’s not OK for a country like Madagascar, which is the 63rd poorest country in the world… to have come up with (this formula) that can help save the world?”
“If it wasn’t Madagascar, and if it was a European country that had actually discovered this remedy, would there be so much doubt? I don’t think so,” said Africa’s youngest head of state, the President of Madagascar Andry Rajoelina.
Follow the link below to watch the full interview…

https://youtu.be/Qp7KB-rY1Aw

The remedy, COVID Organics, is made from Artemisia, a plant imported into Madagascar in the 1970s from China to treat malaria. Artemisia has had proven success against malaria and according to President Rajoelina it can cure COVID-19 patients within ten days.

However, the WHO has criticized such natural therapeutic measures against the coronavirus as blind faith. In response to the skepticism with which the WHO is treating the COVID Organics, Rajoelina said, “No country or organisation will keep us from going forward.”
A host of other African countries including, Tanzania, Guinea-Bissau, DR Congo and Niger, have imported the Madagascan made recipe.
Based on intercepted human intelligence report, a controversy has erupted in Nigeria whereby #BillGates is accused of offering Nigerian House of Representatives a $10 million bribe for the speedy passage of a forced vaccination program for #Coronavirus.https://t.co/e1G8PAWhFB
— GreatGameIndia (@GreatGameIndia) May 12, 2020
Meanwhile, in yet another African nation Nigeria, Bill Gates has been caught bribing forced Coronavirus program. Based on an intercepted human intelligence report, a controversy has erupted in Nigeria whereby it is revealed that Bill Gates offered $10 million bribe for a forced vaccination program for Coronavirus to the Nigerian House of Representatives.
The opposition political parties rejected the “foreign-sponsored Bill” mandating the compulsory vaccination of all Nigerians even when the vaccines have not been discovered and demanded the Speaker be impeached if he forces the bill on members.
Just a couple of days later, an Italian politician demanded the arrest of Bill Gates in the Italian parliament. Sara Cunial, the Member of Parliament for Rome denounced Bill Gates as a “vaccine criminal” and urged the Italian President to hand him over to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. She also exposed Bill Gates’ agenda in India and Africa, along with the plans to chip the human race through the digital identification program ID2020.
Looks like WHO’s days in Africa are over. Days after Tanzania kicked WHO out of the country, now Burundi becomes the second African country to expel entire WHO #Coronavirus team from his nation for interference in internal matters.https://t.co/dRHcljtXZe
— GreatGameIndia (@GreatGameIndia) May 15, 2020
The Madagascar controversy has erupted days after Tanzania kicked out WHO after Goat and Papaya samples came COVID-19 Positive. With the rise in false Coronavirus cases, the Tanzanian President John Magufuli growing suspicious of the World Health Organization (WHO), decided to investigate the claims himself.
He sent the WHO samples of a goat, a papaya and a quail for testing. After all 3 samples came COVID-19 positive, the Tanzanian President is reported to have kicked out WHO from the country.
Following the Tanzanian lead Burundi also kicked out entire WHO Coronavirus Team from the country for interference in internal matters. In a letter addressed to WHO’s Africa headquarters, the foreign ministry says the four officials must leave by Friday.
Looks like WHO’s days in Africa are over!

“WHO offered me 20million dollars to put a little toxic in my Covid-19 remedy” – Madagascar President exposes WHO

Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina has allegedly declared that the World Health Organization, WHO offered him $20,000,000 to put a little toxic in their remedy for coronavirus as the Europeans hacked their Remedy.

Andry Rajoelina says: “People be vigilant, the World Health Organization that we have joined by thinking that it will help us, is there to kill Africans.”

“My country Madagascar has found a cure for coronavirus but the Europeans have told me a proposed $20,000,000 to put toxins in this remedy to kill my African friends who will use it. I ask all Africans not to use their coronavirus vaccine, because it’s killing, come to Madagascar you who are sick, my country is ready to receive you with enthusiasm, our remedy is in yellow color, do not buy the one of the green color, the one of the green color comes from Europe, the Europeans hacked our remedy, they have put poisons to kill only the Africans as they wanted with the vaccines that we protest.” He added

“Please share this message because it is urgent, they hacked our medicine, I want all the Africans to know it, please do not keep this message with you, share!” He concluded

Covid-19: “If it were an European country which had discovered this remedy, would there be so many doubts,” – Madagascar Blast WHO For Not Endorsing Its Herbal ‘Cure’

President Rajoelina said World Health Organisation (WHO) has shut eyes because a drug to combat COVID-19 has been discovered by a poor African country.

Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina has slammed the World Health Organization for not endorsing its COVID-19 herbal cure.

Last month, the Malagasy president officially launched COVID-Organics (CVO), an organic herbal concoction, claiming that it can prevent and cure patients suffering from the novel coronavirus.

“If it were a European country which had discovered this remedy, would there be so many doubts,” he said in an exclusive interview with France 24, Paris-based international television news network and Radio France International.

”The problem is that it comes from Africa. And they cannot accept that a country like Madagascar, which is one of the poorest countries in the world, has discovered this formula to save the world,” he added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had warned against the use of CVO without any medical supervision and cautioned against self-medication. The WHO further said that they have not approved the concoction for the patients suffering from COVID-19.

On Thursday, the WHO, however, has called for clinical trials of CVO.

“COVID-Organics is a preventive and curative remedy against COVID-19, which works very well,” said President Rajoelina.

He attributed recovery of 105 COVID-19 patients in Madagascar to the herbal potion.

“A marked improvement was observed in the health of the patients who received this remedy just 24 hours after they took the first dose. The cure was noted after seven days, even ten days. This remedy is natural and non-toxic,” he said.

Madagascar has donated CVO, which is claimed to cure the COVID-19 to several African countries.

Last week, the African Union in a statement said it is talking with Madagascar to obtain technical data regarding the safety and efficiency of the herbal remedy.

Coronavirus: WHO cautions Madagascar over ‘herbal Cure’

The World Health Organization (WHO) says there is no proof of a cure for COVID-19 after Madagascar’s president launched a herbal coronavirus “cure”.

The country’s national medical academy (Anamem) has also cast doubt on the efficacy of Andry Rajoelina’s touted prevention and remedy.

It said it had the potential to damage people’s health as its “scientific evidence had not been established”.

The plant-based tonic is to be given free of charge to the most vulnerable.

Launched as Covid-Organics, it is produced from the artemisia plant – the source of an ingredient used in a malaria treatment – and other Malagasy plants.

It was being marketed in a bottle and as a herbal tea after being tested on fewer than 20 people over a period of three weeks, the president’s chief of staff Lova Hasinirina Ranoromaro told the BBC.

“Tests have been carried out – two people have now been cured by this treatment,” Mr Rajoelina said at the launch of Covid-Organics at the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (Imra), which developed the tonic.

“This herbal tea gives results in seven days,” said the 45-year-old president, who also urged people to use it as a preventative measure.

“Schoolchildren should be given this to drink… little by little throughout the day,” he told the diplomats and other dignitaries gathered for the launch.

Dr Charles Andrianjara, Imra’s Director-General, agreed that Covid-Organics should be used for prevention.

He was more cautious about its use as a cure, but said that clinical observations had shown “a trend towards its effectiveness as a curative remedy”, the AFP news agency quotes him as saying.

The Indian Ocean island has so far recorded 121 cases of coronavirus and no deaths.

‘No short-cuts’

In response to the launch of Covid-Organics, the WHO said, in a statement sent to the BBC, that the global organisation did not recommend “self-medication with any medicines… as a prevention or cure for Covid-19”.

It reiterated earlier comments by WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that there were “no short-cuts” to finding effective mediation to fight coronavirus.

International trials were underway to find an effective treatment, the WHO added.

Ms Ranoromaro said President Rajoelina was aware that the WHO had to abide by its protocols but said it came down to a matter of sovereignty.

“He has a duty to Malagasy people,” she said.

‘Bubonic plague’

Professor Brian Klaas, an expert on Madagascar at University College London, said Mr Rajoelina’s stance could cause Malagasy citizens more harm than good.

“It’s dangerous for two reasons – one is that some people will be taking it who should not be taking it,” he told BBC Newsday.

“And secondly that it will give people a false sense of security, so they’ll end up doing things that they would not otherwise have done and put themselves and others at greater risk.”

If the virus did begin to spread, it could be “devastating” as the country’s healthcare system was weak, with only six ventilators for a population of 27 million people, he said.

“It’s also one of the reasons why the island is one of the only places on the planet that regularly has outbreaks of bubonic plague, which is readily cured with the right medicine.”

In March, the US-based National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health warned against purported coronavirus remedies, including herbal therapies and teas – saying the best way to prevent infection was to avoid exposure to the virus.

Source: citinewsroom.com

Editorial: “The Coronavirus pandemic is far from over” – World Health Organization says

The World’s leading health body, the World Health Organization, has stated that the Coronavirus pandemic is far from over, even as major countries of the world relax lockdown orders so as to restart the economic and business life of it’s citizenry.

Four million jobs have been furloughed in the UK alone, over 3 million people in the US have become unemployed while countries in Africa have been plunged even into more economics misery as the Coronavirus pandemic has affected small and large scale enterprises.

Covid-19 has infected more than 3 million people and killed at least 210,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

More than 56,000 people have died in the United States, representing more than a quarter of all deaths worldwide.

Switzerland will allow some businesses to reopen today, while Italy plans to loosen some measures on May 4 but the WHO has warned such countries that the pandemic isn’t over.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said;

“The pandemic is far from over,” he said at a news conference.

” We continue to be concerned about the increasing trends in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and some Asian countries.”

“As in all regions, cases and deaths are underreported in many countries in these regions, because of low testing capacity,” Tedros said.

“This virus will not be defeated if we are not united, if we are not united, the virus will exploit the cracks between us and continue to create havoc. Lives will be lost,” Tedros added.

From Trump vs WHO to countries battling coronavirus as global cases cross 2 million

The world has almost come to a standstill as global novel coronavirus cases crossed 2 million and over 131,000 people have died due to the deadly Covid-19.

The first death due to the novel coronavirus came in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on January 9. It took 83 days for the first 50,000 deaths to be recorded and just eight more for the toll to climb to 100,000. The toll has been accelerating at a daily rate of between 6-10 per cent over the past week.

Some countries, including the US, Italy, France, Spain and Britain are reporting that more than 10 per cent of all confirmed cases have been fatal.

Meanwhile, nations around the world reacted with alarm to news that US President Donald Trump put a halt to American payments to the World Health Organization, pending a review of its warnings about the coronavirus and China.

The European Union said Trump has “no reason” to freeze WHO funding at this critical stage and called for measures to promote unity instead of division. Meanwhile, a senior Russian official said Trump’s freeze on funding for the WHO is a selfish response to the global pandemic.

The head of the World Health Organization lamented the US decision to halt funding for the UN agency, promising a review of its decisions while sidestepping Donald Trump’s complaints about its alleged mismanagement, cover-up and missteps.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was on the defensive after Trump announced a halt to US funding that has totalled nearly a half-billion dollars annually in recent years. Trump claimed the WHO had parroted Chinese assurances about how the virus is spread, failed to obtain virus samples from China, and made a “disastrous decision” to oppose travel restrictions as the outbreak spread.

Here are few developments from across the world:

Trump to announce guidelines for reopening economy

US President Donald Trump said that data suggested the county had passed the peak on new infections with coronavirus, and said he would announce “new guidelines” for reopening the economy at a news conference on Thursday.

“It is clear that our aggressive strategy is working. The battle continues but the data suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak on new cases. These encouraging developments have put us in a very strong position to finalize guidelines for states on reopening the country,” Trump added.

Meanwhile, Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York residents will be required to wear face coverings when they are out in public and coming in close contact with other people.

The new outbreak-fighting mandate will require a mask or face covering on busy streets, subways, buses or any situation where people cannot maintain 6 feet of social distancing. The promised executive order from Cuomo echoes recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a way to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The order takes effect Friday, the governor said, and either a mask or a cloth covering such as a bandanna will work.

Germany sets out plan for cautious first steps to restart public life

Germany plans to let smaller shops reopen next week after a weeks-long coronavirus shutdown and to start reopening schools in early May, but Europe’s biggest economy is keeping strict social distancing rules in place for now.

After much-anticipated talks Wednesday with Germany’s 16 state governors, Chancellor Angela Merkel set out a plan for the first steps of a cautious restart of public life – following neighbouring Austria and Denmark and other countries in launching a slow loosening of restrictions. Germany has confirmed more than 130,000 coronavirus infections, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

New infections in Germany have slowed in recent weeks, but Angela Merkel cautioned that the country has achieved only “a fragile intermediate success” so far and doesn’t have “much room for maneuver.”

Angela Merkel said a ban on gatherings of more than two people in public and an obligation to keep at a 1.5-meter (five-foot) distance from others, which has been in place since March 23, will remain in place beyond Sunday when it was previously set to expire.

Nonessential shops, which have also have been closed for nearly four weeks, will be allowed to start reopening, with hygiene precautions, if they are up to 800 square meters (8,600 square feet) in area. So will auto showrooms, bike shops and bookshops, irrespective of their size.

Merkel said the decisions apply to the period from Monday through May 3, and officials will review the situation again on April 30.

Coronavirus deaths nearly double reported figures: Iran Parliament

The death toll in Iran from the coronavirus pandemic is likely nearly double the officially reported figures, due to undercounting and because not everyone with breathing problems has been tested for the virus, a parliament report said.

Iranian health officials offered no comment on the report, which represents the highest-level charge yet from within the Islamic Republic’s government of its figures being questionable, something long suspected by international experts.

Iran on Wednesday put the death toll at 4,777, out of 76,389 confirmed cases of the virus – still making it the Mideast’s worst outbreak by far.

UK coronavirus death toll rises to 12,868

Britain’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic rose to 12,868, a daily increase of 761, as the government announced new plans to modify its guidance to allow close relatives to say goodbye to their sick relatives in care homes across the country.

The latest official figures also reveal that 98,476 people have tested positive for the virus, of 313,769 who have been tested across the country.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government will introduce new procedures to “limit the risk of infection” and allow people to say goodbye to loved ones “wherever possible” during the daily Downing Street briefing.

Pakistan’s coronavirus cases cross 6,300; death toll 111

The number of coronavirus patients in Pakistan rose to 6,383, with 395 new confirmed cases and 11 deaths during the last 24 hours.

As Pakistan’s coronavirus cases rose to more than 6,300, a top minister said it is a “difficult situation” for the government which is fighting a war at different fronts including Covid-19, poverty, hunger and a weak economy.

“This is a difficult situation,” Planning Minister Asad Umar said while addressing a news conference along with PM’s aide on health Dr Zafar Mirza and adviser on national security Moeed Yusuf following a meeting of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) here.

“It is important to find a balance between slowing the spread of the virus and ensuring lower-income people don’t have to go hungry,” he said, adding that the country was “passing through a difficult situation.”

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan extended the lockdown till April 30 but allowed several industries to open up.

France urges top powers to endorse UN coronavirus cease-fire call

French President Emmanuel Macron said he hopes that “in the coming days” the five permanent members of the UN Security Council can discuss and endorse UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for a cease-fire to all conflicts in the world in order to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Macron, who has been pushing for more international cooperation in fighting the virus, said in an interview with French radio RFI broadcast that he is only waiting for agreement from Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold the 5-country video conference.

Over 17,000 people have now died in France from Covid-19, a top health official said on Wednesday, but the total number currently hospitalised has fallen for the first time since the epidemic began.

Trump’s decision to pull World Health Organisation funding is ‘foolish’, says Helen Clark

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark says US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull funding from the World Health Organisation is “foolish”.

Trump is freezing contributions to the WHO for up to three months, pending a review of the organisation and what he describes as its mismanagement of the spread of Covid-19.

He said the United States gives up to $US500 million ($NZ825m) a year to the organisation and he had deep concerns about whether that “generosity” was being put to the best possible use.

“I can’t think of anything more foolish in the middle of a global pandemic which has gone beyond being a health crisis to being a full-blown economic and social crisis,” Clark told Checkpoint.

The UN Development Programme administrator said Trump had “no substantive point” in making the move based on his concerns about the organisation’s management of the Covid-19 outbreak.

“At the end of this ghastly matter… for sure the WHO will do a full review and lessons learned as it did after Ebola. And after Ebola where it had initially not responded well, a whole lot of new mechanisms were put in place, and that has put the WHO in a much better position this time to be handling the epidemic.

“But this is a virus which we knew absolutely nothing about four months ago, almost nothing about three months ago, and everybody is scrambling to keep up.

“So in a sense to defund and make accusations against WHO is to shoot the messenger, that’s been trying to tell the world for several months, that this is serious, and countries need to prepare.”

One of the issues Trump has raised is the lack of travel restriction advice from the WHO and the scrutiny of information from China.

“Of course, he has half a point around the travel restrictions. WHO doesn’t advise those, and I think one of its concerns is that countries might be less honest and transparent if they knew they were going to be, those sorts of consequences,” Clark told Checkpoint.

“Obviously New Zealand also moved by the end of January to stop people who were not New Zealand citizens or residents coming from China, or even transiting through China in the previous 14 days,” she said.

“I understand the kind of sensitivities in the WHO around travel bans but countries like the US, New Zealand and many others have got on and put them on anyway.

“On the issue of transparency, yes, of course, with an authoritarian society which doesn’t operate the way the US does or New Zealand does – with our free and open media, and the ability to say what you want and raise whatever questions you want – things are different.

“And the reality is there was knowledge in Wuhan at least a month before the notification of the disease to the WHO.

“I might say from my experience of dealing with China with such a critical issue, which was over the milk powder scandal back in 2008, our experience was that when we blew the whistle in Beijing, Beijing moved at the speed of lightning.

“Down at the regional level they’re not always so keen to tell Beijing about a problem. But if you go in at the top, Beijing can act very quickly, and my impression is that it may well be that the regional people withheld knowledge from Beijing, as well.”

Clark said there could be a small number of countries who follow Trump’s move.

“But it seems to me that the overwhelming majority of countries are just going to say: ‘Look let’s not start blame games on WHO right now. Let’s get in behind it as it endeavours to deal with the health aspects of this’.”

Regarding the United Nations’ response to the pandemic, Clark said senior level coordination was not high enough.

“There has been a crisis mechanism that was activated by WHO some weeks ago but it’s at the Mike Ryan director level. What Dr David Nabarro – who used to advise Ban Ki-moon on pandemic response – has recommended is that the Secretary-General should convene a pandemic emergency coordination council.

“I think that should be a standing body to be activated whenever something like this arises.

“This is the sixth public health emergency of international concern since 2003. On average, these horrible events are going to come around every three years.

“So a standing capacity, which would be the Secretary-General, the heads of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and the Director-General of the WHO.

“Their networks are huge – the IMF and World Bank – they have the ears of every finance minister in the world.

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark. Photo / Dean Purcell

“And what’s going to release money now for a response that will fight the health aspects of the virus, and the economic crisis and social crisis, is the finance ministers.”

Clark said another action the UN could make would be for the Secretary-General to go the Security Council to formally state the pandemic was a threat to global peace and security, and ask it to make a resolution to that effect.

“Security Council resolutions are binding. If it says that, as it did with Ebola six years ago, and calls on all member states to use all necessary means to fight it, that really ups the ante for global coordination.”

In her various roles, Clark has been a constant traveller around the world, but she is now enjoying lockdown in her own home and neighbourhood for a long period of time. She said she had not been home this long since she was leader of the Opposition.

“But the downside is I haven’t been able to drive down and see my dad who is 98. I’m not going to the supermarket, Peter gets sent out on that errand.

“But I am getting a lot done, and I think we’re going to be looking at the way we work through this and thinking yes, we could do a lot through Zoom, Skype, Teams and these other mechanisms. Maybe we don’t need to get on that plane.

“It is definitely not going to be the same. We’re going to be using these platforms for connecting virtually a great deal more. I have major meetings coming up of international boards, for Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the Partnership with Maternal Newborn Child Health.

“We’re doing it in the way I’m talking to you now,” Clark told Checkpoint’s Lisa Owen. “And maybe we’ll be doing that for a while, because until there’s a vaccine, who of us can travel and get insurance?

“In busy lives, you don’t really want to be coming back from a week-long meeting and sitting in a hotel at Mangere for two weeks, so we’re going to have to get used to working like this.”

Earlier today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand will not be following the US in halting funding to the World Health Organisation.

Ardern said the organisation had provided advice that can be relied on and New Zealand would continue to support it and make its contribution.

Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the global response to the pandemic will require a strong World Health Organisation.