Amid the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak, the deputy prime minister of Japan Aso Taro has slammed the World Health Organization. Taro said that the WHO should be renamed as China Health Organization or 'CHO' as he accused the global body of giving in to China’s spin about the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking to the Japanese lawmakers in the parliament, Taro referenced a Change.org petition calling for the removal of WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
He further said that if the WHO had not insisted to the world that China had no pneumonia epidemic, then everybody would have taken precautions. The Japanese deputy prime minister also accused the former director-general of the global health body Margaret Chan of poor accountability.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to the postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan. Japan had invested 35 trillion yen, which is equivalent to $12.35 billion, for the sporting event. Japan has reported more than 2,500 cases of coronavirus, while close to 63 people have died so far. This is excluding the Diamond Princess cruise ship harboured at Yokohama. The cruise ship has reported more than 700 cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths.
The petition started by Osuka Yip has now received nearly 7 lakh signatures worldwide. It blames the WHO chief for underestimating COVID-19 and refusing to “declare China virus outbreak as a global health emergency” in late January.
It also alleges that WHO was not politically neutral and says: “Without any investigation, Ghebreyesus solely believes in the death and infected numbers that the Chinese government provided them with.”
The petition further states that Taiwan should not be excluded from the WHO for political reasons. Taiwan has been locked out of membership in the WHO due to its complex relationship with China.