GENEVA – The World Health Organization bowed to calls Monday from most of its member states to launch an independent probe into how it managed the international response to the coronavirus, which has been clouded by finger-pointing between the U.S. and China over a pandemic that has killed over 300,000 people and leveled the global economy.
The “comprehensive evaluation,” sought by a coalition of African, European and other countries, is intended to review “lessons learned” from WHO's coordination of the global response to COVID-19, but would stop short of looking into the origins of the new coronavirus.
U.S. President Donald Trump has claimed he has proof suggesting the coronavirus originated in a lab in China while the scientific community has insisted all evidence to date shows the virus likely jumped into humans from animals.
In Washington, Trump on Monday faulted WHO for having done “a very sad job” lately and said he was considering whether to cut the annual U.S. funding from $450 million a year to $40 million.
Ohio pubs subject to safety checks
Police officers and health investigators will be making safety checks at Ohio's bars after photos on social media showed people drinking on crowded patios during the first weekend that bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen, Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday.
The governor warned that bar owners could wind up in court or lose their liquor licenses if they don't take steps to control their customers.
“Our economic recovery in the state of Ohio is tied directly in how successful we are stopping the spread of the coronavirus,” DeWine said.
Health departments, including those in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, were investigating several complaints about a lack of social distancing at crowed bars and restaurants over the weekend.
180 exposed to virus at church
More than 180 people in a rural Northern California county were asked to self-quarantine after they were exposed to the coronavirus during a Mother's Day church service attended by an infected person, health officials said.
The infected person received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis the day after attending service at a church in the town of Palermo and is now isolating at home, Butte County Public Health said in a news release Friday.
Judge throws out Oregon orders
A judge in rural Oregon on Monday tossed out statewide coronavirus restrictions imposed by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, saying she didn't seek the Legislature's approval to extend the stay-at-home orders beyond a 28-day limit.
Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff issued his opinion in response to a lawsuit filed this month by 10 churches around Oregon that argued the state's social-distancing directives were unconstitutional.
Brown filed paperwork within hours seeking an emergency review by the Oregon Supreme Court and a hold on the ruling until the high court could take it up.
N. Michigan sees restrictions lifted
Restaurants, bars and other retail businesses can reopen in much of northern Michigan starting Friday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday – a key step for the tourism-dependent region before the Memorial Day weekend and summer season.
Social gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed in the area, too.
Bars and restaurants will have to limit capacity to 50%. Groups must stay 6 feet apart, and servers will have to wear face coverings. Office business can resume if work cannot be performed remotely.