The United Nations has urged continued support for the World Health Organization (WHO) as countries around the globe battle the coronavirus pandemic, just hours after US President Donald Trump froze American funding to the agency.
The WHO and its thousands of staff are fighting the health crisis on the front lines, supporting the most vulnerable nations with “concrete life-saving services,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote in a statement on Tuesday.
It is my belief that the World Health Organization must be supported, as it is absolutely critical to the world’s efforts to win the war against Covid-19.
While Guterres made no mention of the US, the statement came soon after President Trump announced a pause on the WHO’s funding, freezing up to $500 million in annual aid over concerns that the health body mismanaged its response to the pandemic, and even accusing it of “covering up” the extent of the coronavirus outbreak on behalf of Beijing. US funding will remain on hold as the administration conducts a “review” into the WHO’s actions, Trump said, arguing the agency helped to relay Chinese “misinformation” about Covid-19 and its ability to spread between humans.
The UN chief observed that there would be opportunities to “look back fully to understand how such a disease emerged … and how all those involved reacted to the crisis,” but only “once we have finally turned the page on this epidemic,” insisting “now is not that time.”
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