Washington, May 29 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump said Friday that the United States was ending its relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO) because the United Nations agency’s subservience to China led it to mismanage the coronavirus pandemic.
Six weeks after freezing Washington’s roughly $450 million annual contribution to the WHO, Trump said that those funds would go instead to other global health bodies.
“China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year,” the president told reporters at the White House.
The announcement of the rupture with the WHO came just 11 days after Trump gave the Geneva-based agency a month to either adopt unspecified “reforms” or see a permanent end to US funding, which accounts for around 15 percent of the organization’s budget
In light of the threat from Washington, the WHO this week launched an international foundation to solicit contributions from individuals, companies and other entities.
“The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government,” Trump said Friday, claiming that Beijing put pressure on the WHO to “mislead the world” about the virus.
China, he said, “instigated a global pandemic that has cost over 100,000 American lives.”
Though the outbreak of the novel coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China, the center of the pandemic quickly moved westward, first to Europe and then to the US, now the world leader in both confirmed cases – 1.7 million – and fatalities.
The Trump administration contends that the WHO waited too long to declare a global health emergency – the agency acted on Jan. 30 – because it failed to interrogate the information coming from China.
“The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency. Why is it that China shut off infected people from Wuhan to all other parts of China?” Trump said Friday. “But they allowed them to freely travel throughout the world, including Europe and the United States.”
At the time the WHO sounded the alarm on Covid-19, the total number of cases outside China was 82. EFE