United States President Donald Trump has threatened to permanently withdraw funding to the World Health Organisation after calling the UN’s health body a “puppet of China”.
With more than 1.5 million of the 4.8 confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world in the United States, President Trump has faced widespread criticism over his handling of the virus, which has now caused more than 90,000 deaths. And Trump, who faces re-election this year, has blamed China for attempting to cover-up the outbreak and criticised the WHO for failing to hold it to account.
Earlier in the day, Trump accused the WHO of being “China-centric” and a “puppet to China”. He said the WHO “gave us a lot of very bad advice, terrible advice” and were “wrong so much and always on the side of China”, according to BBC.
Yesterday, the WHO was at the centre of attention at the UN’s World Health Assembly, with US Health Secretary Alex Azar accusing them of letting the virus “spiral out of control” at the cost of “many lives”. EU spokeswoman Virginie Battu-Henriksson also raised a number of questions to the UN’s health body.
“How did this pandemic spread? What is the epidemiology behind it? All this is absolutely crucial for us going forward to avoid another pandemic of this kind,” Battu-Henriksson said, before emphasising that now is not the time to play “any sort of blame game,” according to BBC.
Other nations, including the UK, Australia and New Zealand, are also calling for an inquiry in order to find out details of the virus’ spread and to find out what lessons can be learned to prevent similar pandemics going forward.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for the WHO to be given more legal powers to conduct independent investigations, report outbreaks and share data.
“A novel infectious disease could emerge at any time and we must be able to respond more quickly and effectively,” he said.
Trump, on the other hand, issued a 30-day ultimatum to the WHO and director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to rectify “repeated missteps” or the US would permanently withdraw funding, which accounts for roughly 15% of the body’s entire budget, and revoke its membership altogether.
“The only way forward for the World Health Organisation is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China,” his letter says.
nization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China,” his letter says.