WHO slams 'racist' calls for Africa to be vaccine testing ground

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Apr 06, 2020, 11:05 PM(IST)

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Photograph:( AFP )

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"Africa cannot and will not be a testing ground for any vaccine," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference, 

The World Health Organization chief on Mondy slammed recent comments made by scientists suggesting a vaccine for the new coronavirus should be tested in Africa as "racist" and a hangover from the "colonial mentality".

"Africa cannot and will not be a testing ground for any vaccine," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference, 

"We will follow all the rules to test any vaccine or therapeutics all over the world... whether it is in Europe, Africa or wherever," he added. 

The WHO also voiced concern that the wearing of medical masks by the general public could exacerbate the shortage for health workers who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lockdowns in many places are proving effective in dampening spread of the virus, but any lifting of restrictions requires a calibrated, step-wise approach based on data, it said.

"Masks alone cannot stop the pandemic, countries must continue to find, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact," Gheybresus told.

He announced that Lady Gaga would direct a televised live concert with other top entertainers on April 18 to raise funds to help fight the pandemic.

(With inputs from agencies) 

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