WASHINGTON, April 15. /TASS/. The United States has suspended its contributions to the budget of the World Health Organization (WHO), President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday.
"Today, I’m instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus," he said during a White House briefing. "Everybody knows what’s going on there. American taxpayers provide between 400 million and 500 million dollars per year to the WHO. In contrast, China contributes roughly 40 million dollars a year or even less."
"As the organization’s leading sponsor, the United States sees as its duty to insist on full accountability. One of the most dangerous and costly decisions from the WHO was its disastrous decision to oppose travel restrictions from China and other nations," the US president continued. "They were very much opposed to what we did. Fortunately, I was not convinced and suspended travel from China, saving untold numbers of lives. Thousands and thousands of people would have died."
According to Trump, at the very start of the outbreak WHO experts relied on the Chinese government’s reports that there were no cases of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan.
The US leader also criticized the global organization for saying that there was no need for travel bans.
"They told us when we imposed our travel ban - our very strong travel ban - there is no need to do it, don’t do it," Trump said. "The WHO reliance on China’s disclosures likely caused a twenty-fold increase in cases worldwide, and maybe much more than that."
"Had other nations likewise suspended travel from China, countless lives would have been saved. Instead, look at the rest of the world, look at parts of Europe. Other nations and regions, who followed WHO guidelines and kept their borders open to China, accelerated the pandemic all around the world," he went on.
"The decision of other major countries to keep travel open was one of the most great tragedies and missed opportunities from the early days. The WHO attack on travel restrictions put political correctness above life-saving measures," Trump added.
According to the US leader, Washington would press for a reform of the World Health Organization and was set to discuss with other nations how the US funds, allocated to this organization, should be used.
"We will continue to engage with the WHO to see if it can make meaningful reforms. <...> All of the aid that we send will be discussed at very, very powerful levels and with very powerful and influential groups. <...> And we will be discussing it with other countries and global health partners what we do with all that money that goes to WHO. And maybe WHO will reform and maybe they won’t," Trump said.
On April 10, Trump said at a media briefing that Washington would make a statement regarding the United States’ contributions to the WHO budget in the coming days. Prior to that, he criticized the organization on several occasions. In particular, on April 7, Trump wrote in a Twitter post that the WHO "funded largely by the United States" was "very China centric.".
The United States has chosen the wrong moment to suspend its contributions to the budget of the World Health Organization (WHO), UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said following US President Donald Trump’s announcement.
"As it is not that time, it also not the time to reduce the resources for the operations of the World Health Organization or any other humanitarian organization in the fight against the virus," the UN chief said in a statement.
"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," he said.