Brazilian government lashes out at WHO’s “lack of independence and transparency”

The Chancellor of Brazil, Ernesto Araújo, criticized on Tuesday the “lack of independence, transparency and coherence” of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the fight against coronavirus.

“We have to examine whether it is a question of political influence, a question of influence of non-governmental actors in the WHO or a question of method of transparency”Araújo said during a cabinet meeting of President Jair Bolsonaro.

The chancellor specifically pointed to the “lack” of coherence of the organism when giving guidelines on “the origin of the virus, the contagion, the prevention methods, the confinement, the use of hydroxychloroquine, the protective equipment and now on the transmission by the asymptomatic ”.

On Friday, Bolsonaro had threatened to withdraw Brazil from the WHO, accusing the body of “working with ideological bias.”

Araújo recalled that the members of the WHO adopted on May 19 a resolution that provides for the “independent evaluation” of the response to the pandemic.

But the head of Brazilian diplomacy called for this investigation to be carried out quickly.

“Some say that we have to wait for the end of the pandemic (…), but I clearly believe that we do not, because every day the decisions, that coming and going of the WHO, damages the efforts of all countries,” he explained.

“We are coordinating with Australia, with the European Union, with other countries, for this essential examination of what is happening in the WHO,” added Araújo, for whom the ultimate objective is to achieve a “reform process” of the international organization.

During the cabinet meeting, Bolsonaro recalled the most recent controversy after the statement of Maria Van Kerkhove, a senior WHO official, who said on Monday that the transmission of the new coronavirus by asymptomatic people seemed “very unusual.”

“If we say that transmission by asymptomatic people is almost zero (…) that could signal a more rapid opening of trade,” said Bolsonaro, who since the beginning of the pandemic criticized the social confinement measures taken by governors and mayors .

But the WHO had to clarify this Tuesday a “misunderstanding” about the asymptomatic.

“I used the expression ‘very unusual’ but it is a misunderstanding, I was referring to a small group of studies,” said Van Kerkhove.

Brazil is one of the main centers of the pandemic, with more than 37,000 deaths, the third highest figure in the world behind the United States and the United Kingdom.

On Monday, the WHO called on Brazil for “more transparency” in the dissemination of data on the coronavirus, which in the last week was erroneously published, generating great confusion.

The Brazilian government is ideologically aligned with that of US President Donald Trump, who at the end of May announced his country’s break with the WHO, which he accuses of having acted as a “puppet” of China since the health crisis broke out .

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