On Tuesday, April 14th, US President Donald Trump announced the suspension of US funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) because the UN agency said WHO had concealed the seriousness of the new coronavirus outbreak in China before it spread around the world.
Trump said at a press conference that he had instructed his administration to suspend funding while “a review is underway to assess the role of the WHO in the serious mismanagement and concealment of the spread of the new coronavirus.”
Trump said the WHO had denied transparency about the COVID-19 outbreak and that the US would now “discuss what to do with all the money that is transferred to the WHO”. The WHO’s largest source of funding is the United States, which provided $ 400 million last year.
“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are deeply concerned if American generosity has been put to the best possible use,” he said.
However, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Tuesday that now is not the best time to cut resources for the WHO.
The new coronavirus crisis “is unprecedented in our lifetime and needs an unprecedented response,” the UN Secretary-General said in a statement in response to the US decision to suspend funding to the WHO, which Washington explains did not respond adequately to the pandemic.
“In these circumstances, of course, it is possible that the same facts were interpreted differently in different structures,” Guterres said.
“Once we have finally turned the page on this epidemic, it will be time to look back seriously and understand how the disease originated and spread with such a scourge so quickly around the world and how those involved responded to the crisis, “explained Guterres. “The lessons learned will be essential to respond effectively to similar challenges in the future.”
“Since there is currently no such time, it is not a time to cut resources for WHO operations or any other humanitarian organization’s operations to fight this virus,” Guterres said.
It has already been reported that on April 7th, Trump announced that he was considering suspending US funding to the WHO and accused the UN agency of bias in favor of China during the new coronavirus pandemic.
Trump said at the time that the WHO “seems very biased towards China” and “this is not right.” He accused the WHO of failing to respond to the new coronavirus pandemic and of hiding information at the beginning of the virus outbreak.
Trump had previously stated on Twitter that the WHO had been “highly focused on China” and implicitly stated that this had influenced WHO’s policy on the new coronavirus emerging in that country.
Trump recalled the WHO’s recommendation not to restrict international travel to stop the virus from spreading from China, and asked why the WHO had made such a “mistaken recommendation”.
“Fortunately, I rejected their advice early on to keep our borders open to China,” Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to his decision to ban entry from China.