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The head of the World Health Organization said “racist slurs” were used against him that originated in Taiwan, prompting leaders in Taipei to deny the claim and accuse the health body of its own “unfair treatment.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, an Ethiopian microbiologist who heads the U.N. agency, accused Taiwan’s foreign ministry of being linked to a months-long campaign against him and said that since the emergence of the new coronavirus, he has been personally attacked, including receiving at times, death threats and racist abuse.
“This attack came from Taiwan,” said Tedros on Thursday.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, according to Reuters, said in a statement that if Tedros visited Taiwan and see the “efforts to fight COVID-19 for himself, “he would be able to see that the Taiwanese people are the true victims of unfair treatment.”
Taiwan has claimed that the health body is influenced by China and Taiwanese lives have become political pawns, according to Reuters.
President Trump has also voiced his frustrations with the organization. He accused the U.N. agency of being "very China-centric" and claimed the agency "really blew it" in its initial response to the pandemic -- including what he saw as the agency's criticism of his ban on foreign nationals from China.
Trump had declared at a White House press briefing Tuesday: “We’re going to put a hold on the money sent to the WHO.”
Tedros warned world leaders not to politicize the pandemic.
“If you don’t want many more body bags you refrain from politicizing it – please quarantine politicizing COVID,” he said.
Fox News' Adam Shaw and the Associated Press contributed to this report