Trump gives WHO 30-day deadline over COVID-19

United States President, Donald Trump has sent a letter to the World Health Organisation (WHO) threatening to pull U.S. funding permanently from the organisation over its poor response to COVID-19.

The letter outlines a 30-day deadline for the body to commit to “substantive improvements” or risk losing millions of U.S. dollars and membership altogether.

Addressed to WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Trump criticised the stages of the body’s response to COVID-19 since December 2019.

Trump published the letter on Twitter last Monday, following a day of heavy U.S. criticism of the health agency. Health Secretary, Alex Azar spoke at the WHO’s World Health Assembly and accused the organisation of letting COVID-19 spin “out of control” at the cost of “many lives”.

In his letter the U.S. President accused WHO of having an “alarming lack of independence” from China.

Trump called for the organisation to commit to “major substantive improvements” within 30 days, without clarifying what this means.

Without these changes, the president said, the U.S. will make its temporary freeze of funding permanent and “reconsider our membership in the organisation.”

Among his assertions, Trump accused the agency of having “consistently ignored” what he describes as “credible reports” of the virus spreading in Wuhan at the start of December or even earlier. The U.S. president has repeatedly accused China of failings in its response to the coronavirus outbreak.

In the letter, Trump cited reports that WHO delayed an emergency declaration under pressure from President Xi Jinping, and criticised the agency’s praise of China’s “transparency” amid its censorship and lack of international co-operation. Trump accused WHO of failing to comment on virus-related discrimination against Africans within China and said Dr. Tedros could have saved “many lives” if he had acted more like Dr. Harlem Brundtland, the WHO chief during the Sars outbreak of 2003

Trump, in his conclusion, alleged that “repeated missteps” by Dr Tedros and the WHO had been “extremely costly for the world”.

“The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China,” his letter said.

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