Washington calls for WHO reforms

-Russia seeks for an evaluation of US withdrawal from WHO
-WHO sees surge in Coronavirus infections around the globe

Foreign Desk Report

GENEVA: The United States, in apparent criticism of China, said on Monday that it could not tolerate the “failure” of a member state of the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide accurate, complete and timely information about disease outbreaks. US assistant health secretary Brett Giroir, speaking to the WHO Executive Board, also called for acting on proposed WHO reforms by countries including the United States, Germany, France and Chile.
Giroir, as well as the European Union and Australia called for launching an international WHO-led mission to China to investigate the origin of the virus which emerged late last year. Earlier, WHO emergency chief Mike Ryan said that a list of experts had been submitted to China for consideration.
Meanwhile, Russia called on Monday for an evaluation of the legal and financial repercussions of the Trump administration announcing the US withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO) next July. Russia’s delegation, addressing a two-day meeting of WHO’s Executive Board, said: “We need to analyse legal procedures and administrative and financial procedures regarding steps taken by the United States against the WHO.”
The United States will not pay some $80 million it owes the WHO and will instead redirect the money to help pay its United Nations bill in New York, a U.S. official said on Sept 2.
Earlier, Roughly 1 in 10 people may have been infected with the novel coronavirus, leaving the vast majority of the world’s population vulnerable to the related COVID-19 disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday. Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergency expert, told the agency’s Executive Board that outbreaks were surging in parts of southeast Asia and that cases and deaths were on the rise in parts of Europe and the eastern Mediterranean region.
“Our current best estimates tell us about 10% of the global population may have been infected by this virus. It varies depending on country, it varies from urban to rural, it varies depending on groups. But what it does mean is that the vast majority of the world remains at risk,” Ryan said. “We are now heading into a difficult period. The disease continues to spread.” The WHO has submitted a list of experts to take part in an international mission to China to investigate the origin of coronavirus, for consideration by Chinese authorities, he said.
Earlier, services for mentally ill and substance abuse patients have been disrupted worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the disease is expected to cause further distress for many, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday. Only 7% of the 134 countries responding to the WHO’s survey reported that all mental health services were fully open, with 93% reporting curtailed services for various disorders, it said.
“We think that this is a forgotten aspect of COVID-19, in a sense part of the challenges that we face is that this is an under-funded area historically,” Dévora Kestel, director of WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Use, told a news briefing. Only 17% of countries have ensured additional funding to implement activities supporting growing mental health needs during the pandemic, she said. “We estimate, and preliminary information is telling us, that there may be an increase in people with mental, neurological and substance abuse related conditions that will need attention,” Kestel said.