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US Ambassador Supports China Probe over COVID-19 Handling

U.S Ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols says the decision to call for an investigation into how  China and the World Health Organisation allegedly mishandled the COVID-19 pandemic is justified as he accused the Asian nation of not properly reporting about the virus.

There has been a widespread condemnation by world powers over China’s handling and reportage of the virus which has claimed more than 200 000 people globally.

Nichols said the stance that was taken by Washington through President Donald Trump to withdraw funding to the WHO was justified as the organisation is in connivance with China, allegedly made coverups and ignored red flags raised by Taiwan in the early stages of the virus.

“Let’s keep in mind that the United States has been the largest donor to WHO for its entire history, and what we are talking about is future funding for WHO while this investigation is going on. But if you look at some of the things that happened, obviously China did not report – as it was required to do – that it had a health crisis of international concern within its borders.

“The WHO did not accept the red flags that were raised by Taiwan as they observed what was going on in Wuhan. And the WHO was very slow to move on this at the global level going forward. So I think the President was absolutely correct to take the steps that he has taken. But you know this is a temporary measure, 60 to 90 days, so we are going to have to see what happens after that,” Nichols said.

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Asked on whether the WHO was professional enough in its handling of the pandemic, when it first broke out in China, Nichols said: “Well, I think there was a lot of dissembling by the Communist Party of China and what they reported to the WHO. And I think the WHO was under an obligation to look into that more carefully and to hold them to a higher standard, well, to the high standard that all countries are held to at the time.

“So I think that’s the concern that our President has expressed and I fully support those concerns. I think that there are a lot of questions that still remain to be answered at the global level.”

He, however, said despite his government’s withdrawing funding to the WHO, they remain committed to helping Zimbabwe with its fight against the pandemic.

“Here in Zimbabwe, we were going forward with the programming that has already been funded for WHO implementation- US$470,000 in COVID-19 response. We will continue to work with them on the response here as well as working with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and other development partners. We are all in this together, but we all have to uphold the standards that are necessary for professionalism and that’s all we are asking,” he said.

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Multi-award winning journalist/photojournalist with keen interests in politics, youth, child rights, women and development issues. Follow Lovejoy On Twitter @L_JayMut

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