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London (CNN) - The Director-General of the World Health Organization condemned the “lack of leadership” in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and made an emotional appeal for global unity, as cases skyrocket in several countries and the The world struggles to contain the devastating virus more than six months after its first identification.
"My friends, make no mistake: the biggest threat we face now is not the virus itself," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday in a passionate speech in Geneva. "Rather, it is the lack of leadership and solidarity at the global and national level."
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His intervention will be seen as a lightly veiled blow to leaders, including United States President Donald Trump, who has waged a public battle against WHO and has failed to suppress the world's worst covid-19 outbreak in his own country. .
“This is a tragedy that forces us to miss many of our friends, and that many lives are lost. We cannot overcome this pandemic as a divided world, ”said Tedros, his voice trembling as he spoke.
The United States regularly reports record 24-hour increases in cases and topped three million confirmed infections earlier this week, throwing its first attempts to reopen the economy into chaos.
The situation is almost as bleak in other regions. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro contracted covid-19 after minimizing its severity for months.
India announced its largest single-day increase in cases on Thursday, and the spread of the virus is increasing in Mexico.
Hailed as an initial success story in the fight against the pandemic, Australia has been forced to isolate more than 6 million people in the state of Victoria after a further spike in the disease in Melbourne.
"How come it is difficult for humans to unite to fight a common enemy that is killing people indiscriminately?" Asked Tedros during his request, made during a WHO meeting. "Are we unable to distinguish or identify the common enemy? Can't we understand that the divisions or cracks between us really are the advantage of the virus? ”
He urged a gathering of global powers, telling attendees: "The covid-19 is a test of global solidarity and global leadership."
Tedros' words come days after the Trump administration told Congress and the United Nations that the United States is formally withdrawing from the WHO.
The withdrawal, which will take effect next July, has been criticized by bipartisan lawmakers, medical associations, defense organizations and allies abroad. Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden promised Tuesday to reverse the decision "on (his) first day" if elected.
Tedros himself has provoked the anger of the President of the United States, who accused the organization of being too focused on China and not containing the pandemic in its early days.
But leaders of virtually every other major nation, including Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, have backed the agency during the crisis.
And on Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the pandemic has exposed the dangers of "fact-denying populism" around the world. "We have seen lies and disinformation, and that is no way to combat the pandemic," he told the European Parliament in Brussels.
Donald TrumpJair BolsonaroLeadershipOMSTedros Adhanom