The international community is reacting with alarm and outrage to the U.S. President’s announcement to suspend funding to the WHO. Experts warn that the action taken by Trump could jeopardize the global fight against the coronavirus.
GENEVA, Switzerland (Agencies) – The world today reacted with alarm and outrage to President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was ending U.S. funding for the World Health Organization (WHO).
Experts in the field warned that the measure could jeopardize the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The United States is the largest donor to the WHO, providing $400 million to $500 million annually to the Geneva-based organization in recent years.
At a press conference in Washington, Trump said he was defunding the WHO due to its role in the “mismanagement and cover-up of the spread of the coronavirus”.
Trump has called Covid-19 the “Chinese virus” and criticized the U.N. health agency for its excessive leniency toward the Asian country where the new virus appeared late last year.
Foreign experts have questioned the Chinese figures for infection and deaths, considering them too low and unreliable.
An investigation by The Associated Press revealed that six days passed since the government in Beijing learned of the virus and the first warnings to the public, allowing the outbreak to become a substantial public health disaster.
On Wednesday, the European Union said Trump “has no reason” to freeze funds to the WHO at this critical stage and called for action to promote unity rather than division.
E.U. Foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said the 27-nation bloc “deeply” deplores the suspension of funds and that the U.N. health agency is “more necessary than ever” to combat the pandemic.
Only by joining forces can we overcome this crisis that knows no borders,” he said.
The pandemic has infected nearly 2 million people worldwide and caused more than 127,000 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University count.
The virus is spread by droplets that are released into the air or left on surfaces when people sneeze or cough.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted about Trump’s announcement:
“There’s no point in blaming. The virus knows no borders. We must work closely together against Covid-19. Strengthening the U.N., particularly the underfunded WHO, is a better investment, for example, in manufacturing and distributing tests and vaccines”.
Schuldzuweisungen helfen nicht. Das Virus kennt keine Grenzen. Wir müssen gegen #COVID19 eng zusammenarbeiten. Eine der besten Investitionen ist es, die @UN, allen voran die unterfinanzierte @WHO, zu stärken, z.B. bei der Entwicklung und Verteilung von Tests und Impfstoffen. https://t.co/ugVbnZFx7R— Heiko Maas 🇪🇺 (@HeikoMaas) April 15, 2020
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