WHO handling of pandemic led to ‘dead Britons’, says Pompeo

Pompeo (left) and Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab speak to the media at Lancaster House on Tuesday. (AP pic)

LONDON: The World Health Organization’s actions during the coronavirus pandemic led to “dead Britons”, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told lawmakers during a trip to London, British media reported Wednesday.

Pompeo told a private meeting of MPs on Tuesday that the WHO had become a “political” body, alleging that its decisions were influenced by a deal struck between chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and China that helped him become its head, according to quotes in the Times and Daily Telegraph.

“When push came to shove, when it really mattered most”, people died “because of the deal that was made”, he said.

Pompeo was in Britain for meetings with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab focused on China, and met some Conservative party MPs during a private morning event.

The WHO said it rejected “ad hominem attacks and unfounded allegations”.

“WHO urges countries to remain focused on tackling the pandemic that is causing tragic loss of life and suffering,” a spokesperson for the organisation said Tuesday, according to the Telegraph.

The US announced earlier this month that it would be withdrawing from the WHO, accusing it of being controlled by China.

US President Donald Trump warned Tuesday that the coronavirus crisis in the US is likely to “get worse before it gets better”.

“Some areas of our country are doing very well,” Trump said at his first formal White House virus briefing since the end of April.

Trump urged Americans to wear facemasks to help prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus which has left more than 141,000 people dead in the US.