BERLIN—German Health Minister Jens Spahn backed a second term for World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and called on other countries to support the former Ethiopian health minister ahead of a deadline this week.
“We invite partner countries to join us nominating DG (Director General) Tedros,” Spahn told Reuters. The support is significant as Germany is a major financial backer of the WHO.
Last week, sources told Reuters that Tedros looks set to run unopposed for a second term at the helm of the WHO as it tries to guide the world through its biggest health crisis in a century, even though he lacks the support of Ethiopia due to friction over the Tigray conflict.
Tedros, who has been the public face of the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, has trodden a fine line while managing to anger both China and the United States at different times.
The Trump administration accused him of being “China-centric,” a charge he denies. Tedros said in July that a second phase of studies into the origins of the coronavirus in China were needed, including audits of laboratories.
While Tedros has not publicly acknowledged his plans to run again for a second five-year term, saying he was focusing on fighting the pandemic, four sources said he is the only known candidate.