The United States President, Donald Trump, has suspended payments to the World Health Organization (WHO) for “severely mismanaging and covering up” the coronavirus threat.
Trump stated that he would withhold funding for 60 to 90 days while his administration conducts a review of the WHO’s handling of the covid-19 pandemic during the time it remained only in China.
He accused the WHO of being “China-centric” and criticized its failure to investigate reports in Wuhan of an outbreak throughout the middle of January this year.
The US is the largest contributor to the WHO, with funding worth $400 million provided by America last year. The sudden withdrawal of such a huge source of funding has drawn shock among the international community as it comes in the middle of a worldwide crisis.
The UN General Secretary, Antonio Guterres, said:
“As I have said before, now is the time for unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences.”
A professor of global health at Georgetown University, Lawrence Gostin, claimed the decision could adversely affect America, telling local news:
“Without a WHO that’s empowered, there will be many, many more deaths, and not just as it marches through sub-Saharan Africa, which is next, but also here in the United States.”
Some have pointed out the timeline mentioned by Trump doesn’t add up. While he said he was withdrawing funding due to a lack of action in the middle of January, the WHO has pointed out that it warned the international community about the risk of human-to-human transmissions as early as January 10th.
There are also multiple occasions when Trump defended China, including a tweet on January 24th praising China’s efforts.
China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2020
On February 7th, Trump told reporters that China is “doing a very professional job,” and that they are “working very hard.”
The funding cut was also criticized by Leslie Dach, the chair of the group Protect Our Care, who said:
“To be sure, the World Health Organization is not without fault but it is beyond irresponsible to cut its funding at the height of a global pandemic. This move will undoubtedly make Americans less safe.”
Source: The Guardian | Photo: AP