GENEVA — The head of the World Health Organization commended U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday for “taking responsibility” for leading the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a virtual press briefing in Geneva, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the U.N. health agency has called repeatedly for heads of state to lead a “whole-of-government” response to the new coronavirus.
“That’s exactly what he’s doing which we appreciate because fighting this pandemic needs political commitment,” Tedros said, referring to Trump.
Tedros has previously warned that countries taking measures to lock down their societies must use the time wisely to implement other aggressive interventions, including widespread testing and efforts to track down the virus’ transmission chains. WHO and other experts say it could be months before the outbreak peaks and loosening such controls too soon could allow the virus to resurge.
On Tuesday, Trump suggested the lockdown measures in the U.S. might be lifted by Easter and predicted there would be “packed churches” across the country.
“I know he’s doing all he can,” Tedros said, noting he and Trump spoke recently. “I believe that kind of political commitment and political leadership can bring change or can stop this pandemic.”