New Delhi: Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates criticised US President Donald Trump’s move to halt funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), calling it a dangerous move.
In a press conference early Wednesday, Trump announced that he had instructed his administration to cut the funding and that a review was being conducted to assess the WHO’s role in “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of coronavirus”.
Shortly after, Gates took to Twitter and said, “Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis 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.”
Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis 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.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) April 15, 2020
Along with Gates, the American Medical Association (AMA) has also called the decision a dangerous step and urged Trump to reconsider his decision.
In a statement, AMA President Patrice Harris said, “During the worst public health crisis in a century, halting funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) is a dangerous step in the wrong direction that will not make defeating COVID-19 easier.”
Harris further said, “The AMA is deeply concerned by this decision and its wide-ranging ramifications, and we strongly urge the President to reconsider.”
Former Democrat-President hopeful and US Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren was also critical of the President’s decision and said Trump’s failures had resulted in a public health catastrophe and an unimaginable economic collapse.
“Scapegoating the @WHO, pulling public health funds from countries in need, & ceding our global leadership to China will not change those facts,” she tweeted.
President Trump’s multitude of failures have resulted in a public health catastrophe & an unimaginable economic collapse. Scapegoating the @WHO, pulling public health funds from countries in need, & ceding our global leadership to China will not change those facts. https://t.co/vSeZ18Kf2G
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) April 15, 2020
Trump’s China problem with WHO
Trump criticised the WHO’s opposition to his move to impose a travel ban on China and said that it was a good thing he didn’t listen to the UN body as it was his decision which saved lives. Otherwise, thousands would have died, he added.
Trump further compared China and US’ funding of the WHO to say American taxpayers provide between $400 million to $500 million per year while China contributes roughly $40 million a year.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 14, 2020
Last week, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had urged world leaders to focus on saving lives and argued that political attacks would only lead to “more body bags“.
“Please do not politicise this virus,” he said. “If you want to be exploited and if you want to have many more body bags, then you do it. If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicising it.”
The US, which has now become the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic, has reported more than 6.14 lakh cases and over 26,000 deaths. New York alone has reported over 2 lakh cases, which is more than all of China (82,000). It also surpasses the numbers in Spain, Italy, France and Germany.