The United States will suspend funding the World Health Organization, accusing it of mismanagement.
“I am directing my administration to halt funding while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus,” President Donald Trump said at a routine White House news conference Tuesday.
Trump told reporters that a decision on whether to resume funding will be made after the review within 60 to 90 days.
Trump had threatened last week to withhold Washington’s funds to the UN health agency, accusing it of being “very China-centric”.
Responding to that criticism, WHO chief had pleaded not to politicize COVID-19. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s Director General, said WHO has been “working day and night” in five key areas.
Trump’s announcement was widely condemned, with Bill Gates calling it dangerous.
“It is not the time to reduce the resources for the operations of the World Health Organization or any other humanitarian organization in the fight against the virus,” UN Secretary General António Guterres said in a statement.
Trump’s decision was severely condemned by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.
“Americans must ignore lies and start to listen to scientists and other respected professionals in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” she said in a statement.
President “ignored warnings, took insufficient action and caused unnecessary death and disaster”, she added.
The top Democrat warned, “If we are not working from the truth, more lives will be lost, economic hardship and suffering will be extended unnecessarily and our children will not be safe, happy and learning”.
WHO is funded largely by the United States, which gave it more than $450 million in 2019.
Covid-19 outbreak emerged in China in December, and was contained after an 11-week lockdown, during which they lost 3335 lives. President Trump often downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic during this period, and even called it not as serious as flu. But the United States fast emerged as the worst-affected country in the world with more than 26000 deaths and 614643 infections due to the virus.
Coronavirus infected nearly 2 million people globally, and killed 128,892 others, according to worldometers.
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