April 22, 2020 / 5:58 PM / a month ago

WHO says it hopes U.S. will reconsider funding, but focus is on ending pandemic

FILE PHOTO: Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a news conference on the situation of the coronavirus (COVID-2019), in Geneva, Switzerland, February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

GENEVA (Reuters) - The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that he hoped the Trump administration would reconsider its suspension of funding, but that his main focus was on ending the pandemic and saving lives.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, told a Geneva news conference: “I hope the freezing of the funding will be reconsidered and the U.S. will once again support WHO’s work and continue to save lives.”

“I hope the U.S. believes that this an important imvestment, not just to help others but for the U.S. to stay safe also,” Tedros said.

Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergencies expert, said that it was important to understand the animal origins of the new coronavirus which jumped the species barrier to humans in China late last year, adding: “It can be breached again”.

The WHO stands ready to work with the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to conduct an investigation into the animal origin, and has offered assistance to China’s government, Ryan said.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay

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