After Trump criticism, U.N. chief says now not the time to assess virus response

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that now was not the time to assess the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, calling instead for the international community to focus on working in solidarity to stop the virus.

“Once we have finally turned the page on this epidemic, there must be a time to look back fully to understand how such a disease emerged and spread its devastation so quickly across the globe, and how all those involved reacted to the crisis,” Guterres said in a statement. “But now is not that time.”

His statement came after U.S. President Donald Trump sharply criticized the World Health Organization on Tuesday, accusing it of being too focused on China and issuing bad advice during the new coronavirus outbreak. He also said Washington was considering putting a hold on its funding for the organization.

“This virus is unprecedented in our lifetime and requires an unprecedented response. Obviously, in such conditions, it is possible that the same facts have had different readings by different entities,” Guterres said.

The secretary-general is due to privately brief the 15-member Security Council on the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday at the request of two-thirds of the body.

“Now is the time for unity, for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences,” Guterres said.

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