Elon Musk, WHO spar on Twitter over U.N. agency’s role

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Twitter Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Elon Musk said on Thursday that countries should not cede authority to the World Health Organization (WHO) in comments swiftly rejected by the United Nations (U.N.) health agency’s chief.

“Countries should not cede authority to WHO,” Musk whose Twitter account has more than 132 million followers, wrote in response to a video of right wing Australian senator Malcolm Roberts criticising the organisation.

“Countries aren’t ceding sovereignty to WHO,” Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted in response.

Since COVID-19 first emerged more than three years ago, the World Health Organization has complained of an infodemic of misinformation and disinformation around the pandemic.

At times the U.N. agency has been the direct target of such attacks, with some commentators accusing it of seeking to wrest health policy away from the governments, especially since international negotiations between member states began over a new pandemic treaty to avoid and deal with future outbreaks.

The WHO is made of 194 member states which take major decisions on its health policies and budgets through an annual assembly attended by governments.