Washington, May 31:
President Donald Trump has announced that the United States will terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization, saying it had failed to undertake greatly needed reforms and “mislead” the world about the coronavirus when it emerged in China.
Trump has accused the WHO of failing to hold Beijing to account over the coronavirus pandemic. “China has total control over the World Health Organization,” he said on Friday while announcing measures aimed at punishing China.
“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving, urgent global public health needs,” Trump said.
The President said that the “world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency.” He said that China had “instigated a global pandemic that has cost over 100,000 American lives”. The President accused China of pressurizing the WHO to “mislead the world” about the virus.
Trump, who is seeking re-election in November, has been criticized for his own handling of the pandemic. He has blamed China for trying to cover up the coronavirus outbreak. China has rejected the US allegations and asked American politicians not to use the pandemic for political purposes.
The pandemic, that has killed 360,000 people and infected over 5,871,347 others globally, originated from the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December. The virus has killed more than 1,00,000 people in the US, the highest in the world. The US is the biggest funder of the global health body, paying about $ 450 million in membership dues and voluntary contributions for specific programs.
At the White House event, Trump also announced a series of decisions against China, including issuing a proclamation to deny entry to certain Chinese nationals and tightening of regulations against Chinese investments in America. But health experts and US lawmakers have expressed concern over defunding the organisation amid a pandemic.
Patrice Harris, president of the American Medical Association, assailed Trump’s announcement Friday as “senseless” with “significant, harmful repercussions”. “COVID-19 affects us all and does not respect borders; defeating it requires the entire world working together,” Harris said in a statement.