Donald Trump announces he will be halting funding to the WHO

In a press conference, US President Donald Trump has just announced he will halting US funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The president cited the organisation’s alleged “mismanaging” of the spread of coronavirus, stating that he will be conducting a “review” investigation.

donald trump, the who, world heath organisation
Photo: REUTERS/Leah Millis

US President Donald Trump has announced he will be suspending the nation’s funding to the World Health Organisation whilst he conducts a review.

Speaking in the briefing, Trump described: “Today I’m instructing my administration to stop funding of the WHO while a review is conducted to assess the WHO’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the Coronavirus.”

“[The WHO has] problems the likes of which no one can believe,” he continued.

The WHO has faced increasing criticism of late, with one commentary centring on an update made on January 12 which described that, based on preliminary epidemiological investigation, there was “no clear evidence of human to human transmission.”

Yet by the end of January, the WHO had deemed the virus a “public health emergency”, releasing a statement urging countries around the world to enact “strong measures to detect disease early, isolate and treat cases, trace contacts, and promote social distancing measures commensurate with the risk.”

The virus was then declared a pandemic by the organisation on March 11, with the WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, observing the “alarming” inaction from nations including the US and the UK.

Now Trump has claimed that there was “credible” information which dates back to December, indicating human-to-human transmission and that consequently, “so much death has been caused by [the WHO’s] mistakes.”

Trump himself has faced much criticism for his lax handling of the pandemic. New memos show that his economic adviser, Peter Navarro, warned him that the virus could kill hundreds of thousands of people and devastate the US economy, with immediate action the only way to curb the impact. Yet in late February, the president continued to assert that the danger of the virus to Americans remained “very low”, even calling it a hoax.

Speaking on the draining of power and resources of the WHO, Richard Horton, editor of the medical journal, the Lancet, has described: “Its coordinating authority and capacity are weak. Its ability to direct an international response to a life-threatening epidemic is non-existent.”