Nations around the world reacted with alarm on Wednesday, 15 April, after United States President Donald Trump announced a halt to the sizable funding the US sends to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
China, Russia and European Union (EU) and Iran on Wednesday, criticised United States President Donald Trump’s decision on halting America's funding of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
China on Wednesday expressed “serious concern” over Trump’s decision to suspend funding for WHO and hinted at stepping up its monetary contribution to the UN health agency. EU said has “no reason” to freeze the funding at this critical stage and called for measures to promote unity instead of division.
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‘Funds to WHO Needed Now More Than Ever’
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that the 27-nation group “deeply” regrets the suspension of funds and the WHO is now “needed more than ever” to combat the pandemic. Meanwhile, Russia too slammed US move to halt WHO funding as “selfish”, AFP reported.
The novel coronavirus, which originated from Wuhan City of central China's Hubei province in November, has so far killed at least 1,19,000 people globally, including more than 25,000 in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif likened the funding freeze to Washington's "maximum pressure" campaign against his country. The United States launched a campaign of crippling sanctions against Iran in 2018 after Trump unilaterally withdrew from a nuclear deal.
“The shameful defunding of WHO amid a pandemic will live in infamy. The world is learning what Iran has known and experienced all along,” he said.
"Today, I am instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organisation while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organisation's role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus. Everybody knows what has gone on there," Trump told reporters at his daily White House news conference on the pandemic.
The Trump administration has accused WHO of taking sides with China in the coronavirus outbreak that has brought America's economy to a standstill.
‘WHO Failed in its Duty’
American taxpayers provide between $400 million and $500 million per year to the WHO, and in contrast, China contributes roughly $40 million a year or even less, he claimed.
“As the organisation’s leading sponsor, the United States has a duty to insist on full accountability. One of the most dangerous and costly decisions from the WHO was its disastrous decision to oppose travel restrictions from China and other nations.”US President Donald Trump
"They were very much opposed to what we did. Fortunately, I was not convinced and suspended travel from China, saving untold numbers of lives... thousands and thousands of people would have died,” he said.
The world, he asserted, depends on the WHO to work with countries to ensure that accurate information about international health threats is shared in a timely manner. The WHO failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable, he said.
The president alleged that WHO failed to investigate credible reports from sources in Wuhan that conflicted directly with the Chinese government's official accounts.
There was credible information to suspect human-to-human transmission in December 2019, which should have spurred the WHO to investigate immediately, he observed.
Through middle of January, it “parroted” and publicly endorsed the idea that there was no human-to-human transmission happening despite reports and clear evidence to the contrary, he said.
According to Trump, the delays the WHO experienced in declaring a public health emergency cost valuable time. "More time was lost in the delay it took to get a team of international experts and to examine the outbreak...," he added.
(With inputs from PTI, AFP)