US President Donald Trump escalated his assault on the World Well being Group, saying its early steerage on the coronavirus outbreak was a “horrible” mistake – and maybe even a deliberate one.
“Tragically, different nations put their belief within the WHO and so they did not do any type of ban,” Trump stated at his every day White Home briefings on the pandemic on Wednesday.
“You see what occurred to Italy, you see what occurred to Spain, you see what occurred in France … WHO steerage failed to regulate their borders … It was a horrible, tragic mistake.”
However the US president later implied preliminary selections by the WHO weren’t a mistake, and it “maybe” was conscious of the “gravity” of the scenario, with out citing any proof to again his claims.
“I’m certain they [the WHO] did not know the gravity of it, however maybe they knew,” he stated.
Trump’s feedback got here after he introduced on Tuesday his administration would halt funding to the WHO due to its dealing with of the pandemic.
The overall variety of coronavirus circumstances on the earth has surpassed two million and greater than 137,000 folks have died, in line with knowledge compiled by Johns Hopkins College.
‘Overwhelmed by assist‘
The director-general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated he regretted Trump’s resolution to halt US funding of the UN physique, amounting to about $500m – or 15 p.c of its complete funds.
“Once we are divided, the coronavirus exploits the cracks between us,” Tedros advised reporters in Geneva.
The WHO will evaluate the affect of the funding hole and can proceed its work “with out worry or favour”, he added.
“Sooner or later, WHO’s efficiency in tackling this pandemic might be reviewed by WHO’s member states and the unbiased our bodies which are in place to make sure transparency and accountability,” stated Tedros.
The pinnacle of the World Well being Group’s Europe workplace hailed a present of assist for the UN company on Thursday, together with some “commitments” from around the globe.
Amid an more and more fraught monetary scenario for the WHO because it battles the coronavirus outbreak, Dr Hans Kluge stated it has “been overwhelmed by the assist of European international locations, but additionally folks of Europe and everywhere in the world”.
Kluge credited america for its historic assist for the company.
“We’re trying on the finance scenario. Some commitments have are available in,” Kluge stated, with out elaborating. “However for the time, we’re within the midst of the disaster. So what we deal with is to save lots of lives.”
Chinese language Overseas Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian stated the US resolution to chop WHO funding would have an effect on efforts by international locations to sort out the outbreak.
The Trump administration has additionally accused Beijing of mishandling the pandemic, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserting that China needs to be extra clear and “open up” concerning the origins of the virus.
“For China, Trump’s assaults on the WHO are simply following on from his try and shift blame from himself for his personal mismanagement to the WHO, as he had been for the previous few weeks attempting to do with China,” Al Jazeera’s Katrina Yu reported from Beijing.
Yu stated Chinese language state media additionally mirrored this sentiment with the World Instances newspaper working an editorial criticising Trump’s resolution to assault the WHO, which it stated “was a transfer towards humanity” at a time when nations needs to be rallying behind the organisation.
Einar Tangen, an financial advisor to the Chinese language authorities, advised Al Jazeera China believes Trump was utilizing the controversy with WHO for his personal re-election marketing campaign.
“The big difficulty is what occurs to this funds. The US is about 15 p.c, half of which matches to Africa and all however 10 p.c is de facto going to improvement areas,” he stated.
Tangen famous international locations around the globe that had “a lot weaker well being safety programs” – akin to India, Indonesia and a few in South America – may see dire penalties from the US resolution.
“Folks will remorse they have been arguing about this at a degree after they have been seeing the tragedies unfolding,” Tangen stated.
Who’s in charge, Trump or the WHO?