UNITED States’ President, Donald Trump’s instruction to his administration to temporarily halt its funding to World Health Organisation (WHO) over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic has sparked instant global furore.
Speaking on the issue, United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres flayed Trump’s action as untimely.
According to him, this is “not the time” to reduce resources for WHO operations.
“Now is the time for unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences. It is not time to detract from the agency,” he said.
In his own reaction, an infectious disease expert and senior scholar at John Hopkins Centre for Health Security, Dr. Amesh Adalja described the withdrawal of US funding as a wrong message at a critical time.
“The move sends the wrong message during the middle of a pandemic. It’s not the middle of a pandemic that you do this type of thing,” he said.
For European Union Foreign Policy Chief, Josep Borrell, the 27-nation bloc “deeply” regrets the suspension of funds.
According to him, the U.N. health agency is now “needed more than ever” to combat the pandemic.
“Only by joining forces can we overcome this crisis that knows no borders,” he said.
Speaking on the same issue, AMA President, Patrice Harris called it “a dangerous step in the wrong direction that will not make defeating COVID-19 easier” and urged Trump to reconsider.
He spoke in same light with global Ebola coordinator for US Department of Health and Human Services, Leslie Dach who berated Trump’s action as a distraction.
“This is nothing more than a transparent attempt by President Trump to distract from his history downplaying the severity of the coronavirus crisis and his administration’s failure to prepare our nation.
To be sure, the World Health Organisation is not without fault but it is beyond irresponsible to cut its funding at the height of a global pandemic. This move will undoubtedly make Americans less safe,” Dach said.
Similarly, Head of African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat termed the decision as “deeply regrettable” at a time the world has a “collective responsibility” to help WHO during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The US govt decision to suspend funding to @WHO is deeply regrettable. Today more than ever, the world depends on WHO’s leadership to steer the global #Covid_19 pandemic response.
Our collective responsibility to ensure WHO can fully carry out its mandate, has never been more urgent,” he posted on Twitter.
Many other leading world figures have commented on the issue with each knocking down Trump’s decision on numerous counts.
President Trump had earlier said that WHO “failed in its basic duty and it must be held accountable.”
According to him, the agency promoted China’s “disinformation” about the virus that likely led to a wider outbreak.
It will be recalled that United States is the biggest overall donor to the Geneva-based WHO, contributing more than $400million in 2019. This represents about 15 per cent of its annual budget.