Brazil threatens to quit WHO, Trump says US beating pandemic
Rio de Janeiro,(AFP/APP):President Jair Bolsonaro threatened Friday to pull Brazil from the WHO over "ideological bias," as his counterpart Donald Trump said the US economy was recovering from the coronavirus pandemic and Europe sought to reopen its borders.
Adding fuel to the political fire raging around the pandemic, its origins and the best way to respond, Bolsonaro criticized the World Health Organization for suspending clinical trials of the drug hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 -- a decision it reversed this week -- and threatened to follow in Trump's footsteps by quitting.
"I'm telling you right now, the United States left the WHO, and we're studying that, in the future. Either the WHO works without ideological bias, or we leave, too," the far-right leader told journalists.
Sometimes called a "Tropical Trump," Bolsonaro has followed a similar script to the US president in his handling of the pandemic, downplaying its severity, attacking state authorities' stay-at-home measures and touting the purported effects of hydroxychloroquine and a related anti-malarial drug, chloroquine, against COVID-19.
The WHO had suspended trials of hydroxychloroquine after major studies raised concerns about its safety and effectiveness against the new coronavirus -- irking Trump, a fan who even took the drug himself as a preventive measure.
On Thursday, most of the authors of the studies that appeared in The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine retracted their work, saying they could no longer vouch for their data because the firm that supplied it refused to be audited.
However, adding to the swirling scientific and political debate, a new study from Oxford University said Friday that hydroxychloroquine showed "no beneficial effect" in treating COVID-19.
In another potentially confusing reversal, the WHO changed its advice on face masks, saying that "in light of evolving evidence" they should be worn in places where the virus is widespread and physical distancing is difficult.
- US 'largely through' -