Fight Against COVID-19 Suffers Setback, As Trump Cuts Funding To WHO

NEWS, Society

The United States Government, Tuesday, April 14, suspended its regular funding to the World Health Organisation, WHO, after accusing the health organisation of mismanaging the coronavirus outbreak.

President Donald Trump made the announcement during a press conference, stating, “the reality is that the WHO failed to adequately obtain, vet, and share information in a timely and transparent fashion.”

Trump said his country has generously supported the WHO since its establishment in 1948, but the organisation sided with China to withhold from the world information about the coronavirus outbreak.

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Trump said he is holding the WHO accountable for failing in its basic duty of sharing information in a timely and transparent manner when COVID-19 was first recorded in Wuhan, China.

According to him, the WHO covered up the spread of the virus after it emerged in China last December 2019. The US is currently the most coronavirus-infected country with more than 600,000 confirmed infections and over 26,000 deaths in the nation.

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has said it is not time for any country to cut WHO funding given its dire need of resources to counter COVID-19.

“Now is the time for unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences,” he said in a statement.

Trump’s recent move will greatly affect the WHO, given that, the United States is the highest donor to the WHO, contributing more than $400 million in 2019, roughly 15 percent of its budget.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the second biggest donor, contributing nearly 9.8 percent of the WHO budget.

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Global Reactions, Condemnation Of US Move

Governments and leaders around the world have slammed the recent move by the United States to cut WHO relief.

American billionaire, Bill Gates, has condemned Donald Trump for cutting WHO funding, stating that the move is “as dangerous as it sounds.”

He said the organisation’s role now is more vital than ever, given the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic.”Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organisation can replace them,” the Microsoft founder said.

China has also called on the US to continue fulfilling its duties to the WHO, given that upholding the stance will greatly harm WHO’s capability to counter the epidemic.

China Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Zhao Lijian, said “we urge the US to earnestly fulfil its duties and obligations. This decision weakens the WHO’s capability and harms international cooperation in guarding against the epidemic. Every country in the world is affected, including the US and especially those with fragile capacities,” he said.

The European Union has also condemned Trump’s decision to cut aid to the WHO, stating that the world needs the WHO now more than ever.

EU Foreign Policy Chief, Joseph Borrell, said the 27-nation EU “deeply” regrets the suspension of funds and added that the WHO is “needed more than ever” to combat the pandemic.

 “Only by joining forces can we overcome this crisis that knows no borders,” he said. German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, has said placing blame will not help, but strengthening the UN through the WHO is a better investment now.

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By Hope Ndah, First published in The Post Newspaper, Cameroon.

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