WASHINGTON: The US is ending its relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO), President Donald Trump announced Friday following a months-long review he ordered.
Trump said he is taking the action “because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms” after the US president paused Washington’s funding over concerns the global health body mishandled the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization, and redirecting those funds to other world-wide and deserving urgent global public health needs,” he said.
Trump continued to insist China has “total control” over the WHO, claiming “Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations” to the health body during the coronavirus pandemic, and “pressured” it to “mislead the world.”
The novel coronavirus has spread to 188 countries and regions since it was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. Over 5.8 million people have been infected and more than 362,000 victims have dies in the time since.
The US has repeatedly accused China of misleading the world about the virus’ severity in the early days of the pandemic, saying that exacerbated the outbreak.
Trump ordered a halt to US funding for the WHO in April as the outbreak in the US continued to worsen, grinding economic activity to a halt.
The US “detailed” the reforms it had to make in order to continue receiving US funding, which totals about $450 million annually, directly with the WHO but Trump said, “they have refused to act.”
“China’s cover-up of the Wuhan virus allowed the disease to spread all over the world, instigating a global pandemic that has cost more than 100,000 American lives,” he said. “The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency.”
The US remains the nation hardest-hit by the pandemic, with a death toll standing at over 102,000 deceased, and over 1.7 million confirmed cases.