Trump's decision is "as dangerous as it sounds," said Gates.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, President Donald Trump has recently announced that the United States is halting funding for the World Health Organization. The decision comes after he accused WHO of “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”
According to a recent tweet by Trump, the organization “really blew it. He also bashed the health organization for being “very China centric” despite being largely funded by the U.S.
The announcement has been met by mixed reactions and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates himself expressed his disappointment about it, warning that it is “as dangerous as it sounds”.
“Their work is slowing the spread of Covid-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever.”
In January, WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared a “public health emergency of international concern” as coronavirus started to spread in different countries. Soon thereafter, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged to donate $100 million to fight the virus. By March, WHO has declared the disease as a pandemic.
Meanwhile, United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres said that the pandemic caught everybody by surprise and even WHO is learning lessons along the way, stressing now isn’t the right time “to reduce the resources for the operations of (WHO) or any other humanitarian organization in the fight against the virus.”
In a media briefing, Ghebreyesus said that they “regret” the president’s decision, describing the country as “a longstanding and a generous friend to WHO.” He, however, assured that they will assess the effect of the reduced funding on the organization and do their best “to fill the gaps with partners.”
As of April 16, the United States has the highest number of reported coronavirus infections and deaths across the world with 644,089 confirmed cases and a death toll of 28,529.
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