Mature response to WHO required

The following op-ed appeared in today’s Taipei Times:

Under pressure: A beleagured looking Tedros (Photo: AFP).

It is hardly surprising that WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is on the defensive. He is taking hits from all angles — the most recent and high-profile example is a broadside from US President Donald Trump, who attacked Tedros’ organization for moving too slowly and being “China-centric.” (Remarkably, in this case, there was merit to two Trump utterances in short succession.)

Being targeted by Trump is a badge of pride in some quarters and, here too, that might have been the case were it the only source of disdain aimed at the WHO. Instead, Tedros has received sustained criticism from the minute the COVID-19 outbreak went public, precisely because — by common consensus — going public took the WHO far too long.

Some of the strongest censure has come from the health authorities in Taiwan. Given the decades of sidelining and unconscionable treatment the nation has received from the organization at China’s behest, this is understandable.

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