US President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to walk out of the World Health Organisation, accusing the Tedros Adhanom-led global health body chief of acting at China’s behest and mismanaging the Covid-19 pandemic in the early stages.
“It is clear the repeated missteps by you and your organization in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world. The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China,” Trump said in a letter to Tedros Adhanom.
In his four-page letter, Trump detailed every occasion since December last when, according to the US, the WHO did not act on the available information, made misleading claims or gave the world bad advice.Trump gave Tedros Adhanom 30 days to commit to major substantive improvements, warning that if the WHO doesn’t deliver on this, “I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the WHO permanent and reconsider our membership”.
Trump’s letter was sent hours after the WHO’s policy making body began its meeting on Monday. At this meeting, China, which had opposed a probe into the origin of the virus that has killed nearly 3.2 lakh people and infected millions across the world, was forced to back down. The formal resolution is expected to be passed today.
Trump’s letter did not spell out the improvements or reforms that he was looking for. “My administration has already started discussions with you on how to reform the organisation,” he wrote.