British Virgin Islands

Wednesday, Nov 25, 2020

WHO chief addresses death threats and racist insults: 'I don't give a damn'

The leader of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said Wednesday he's received death threats and racist insults while running the global efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The World Health Organization on Wednesday asked the United States and China for “honest leadership” on the coronavirus pandemic, warning global leaders against politicizing the COVID-19 outbreak “if you don’t want to have many more body bags,” Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

President Donald Trump criticized the international agency’s response to the outbreak Tuesday, saying the WHO “really called, I would say, every aspect of it wrong.” He also threatened to withhold U.S. funding for the WHO.

“At the end of the day, the people belong to all political parties. The focus of all political parties should be to save their people, please do not politicize this virus,” Tedros said in a fiery address Wednesday. He called for unity across the globe, saying the virus will exploit cracks in political parties, religious groups or between different nations to spread even more widely. “If you want to be exploited and if you want to have many more body bags, then you do it. If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it,” he said.

Tedros said the focus of all political parties should be to save their people.

Without unity, even more developed nations will face “more trouble and more crisis,” he said. “No need to use COVID to score political points. No need. You have many other ways to prove yourselves.”

Tedros said he doesn’t “care about personal attacks,” addressing the death threats and insults that have been directed at him in recent months.

“I can tell you personal attacks that have been going on for more than two, three months. Abuses, or racist comments, giving me names, black or Negro. I’m proud of being black, proud of being Negro ... I don’t care to be honest ... even death threats. I don’t give a damn.”
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