Sunday, 25 Oct 2020

WHO wishes Donald Trump swift recovery but won't comment on refusal to wear mask

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has wished Donald Trump ‘a full and swift recovery’ following his coronavirus diagnosis.

But Dr Michael Ryan, the executive director of the WHO’s Emergencies Programme, refused to comment on the US President’s past refusal to wear a mask or his mocking of those who do.

He instead doubled down on the basic safety measures which can reduce your risk of contracting the virus including washing hands, sticking to social distancing and wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces.

Speaking at a WHO press conference, Dr Ryan added: ‘Doing all of that to protect yourself and others is the best way to protect society. Our advice doesn’t change. We will not comment on the specific management measures or specific behaviour of an individual.

‘We are a community. We need to get through this together. This is not the time to turn on each other.’

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President Trump, 74, is showing mild symptoms of Covid-19 after he and first lady Melania, 50, tested positive.

He announced his diagnosis in a tweet in the early hours of Friday, following a positive test from one of his closest aides, Hope Hicks.

WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus opened the press conference with good wishes to the Trumps, saying: ‘I want to start today by wishing them both a full and swift recovery. Or prayers are with them.’


Mr Trump has formally moved to withdraw the US from the WHO, accusing the body of being under China’s control in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite calls from the EU and others, he also said he would pull out of the UN agency and redirect funds elsewhere.

Dr Ryan said the world needs action, investment and solutions to tackle the global pandemic.

He said: ‘I hope that everybody can reflect right now – as we send our best wishes to the President and his spouse – that we can redouble our efforts, find the right investments and get this job done.’

Dr Ryan also noted that huge innovations are going into developing much-need vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

He added: ‘There is a barrier between us and that achievement – it is a relatively small amount of money when we think about what has been spent and what has been drained from our collective pockektbooks from the global economy.’

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