A global outcry has erupted following President Donald Trump’s decision on Tuesday to suspend funding to the World Health Organization while the US undertakes a 60-90 day investigation into the WHO.
He accused the organization of “severely mismanaging and covering up” the coronavirus outbreak; plus, the AP reports that China’s president was aware of the danger of the outbreak and misinformed the WHO about its seriousness and level of human-to-human transmission, as the organization failed to pursue the matter further, trusting China’s word.
The United States provides roughly 22 percent of the annual budget of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Based on mounting evidence, President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that the United States would suspend funding while it investigates the WHO over 60-90 days to look into why the coronavirus outbreak caused “so much death” while accusing the organization of “severely mismanaging and covering up” the pandemic.
Trump said that the WHO had put “political correctness over lifesaving measures” and was “China-centric” in helping the totalitarian regime cover up the extent of the outbreak in the early stages.
Republicans on Capitol Hill applauded the president’s decision, as many lawmakers have been critical of the WHO, calling on the US to get tougher with the organization by launching an investigation into its handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
One of the most prominent critics of Trump’s decision to withhold WHO funding is Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates. The software magnate said the move by Trump to withhold funding from the WHO during the coronavirus pandemic is “as dangerous as it sounds.” Gates said the world needs the WHO “now more than ever.”
In a statement, the European Union said Trump had “no reason” to freeze the funding. United Nations’ Secretary-General António Guterres said the timing for withholding funds was wrong. A Foreign Ministry spokesman for China vowed to continue supporting the organization.
However, one leader appeared to agree with Trump to a degree. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the WHO is “not immune from criticism and immune from doing things better.”
“I sympathize with his [Trump’s] criticisms and I’ve made a few of my own,” Morrison said, but added, “We’re not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater here.”
The Associated Press (AP) reported that leaked internal documents from China show that President XI Jinping was aware that the coronavirus outbreak in his country was a highly contagious “epidemic” at the same time the country told the World Health Organization (WHO) that it had found no “evidence of human-to-human transmission.”
The AP came into possession of leaked memos revealing that China’s President was aware by January 14 at the latest that there was a “high… Risk of transmission and spread.” This is the same date that the WHO downplayed the outbreak by tweeting:
“Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China.”
The question remains as to why the WHO took China’s word for it and did not conduct its own investigation into the proliferation of the disease.
The former head of Britain’s MI6 intelligence service says that China concealed crucial information about the novel coronavirus outbreak from the rest of the globe.
“There is deep anger in America at what they see as having been inflicted on us all by China and China is evading a good deal of responsibility for the origin of the virus, for failing to deal with it initially,” John Sawers, the chief of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, from 2009 to 2014, said to the BBC.
“Intelligence is about acquiring information which has been concealed from you by other states and other actors, there was a brief period in December and January when the Chinese were indeed concealing this from the West.”
In the light of President Donald Trump’s decision to withhold funds from the World Health Organization, Sawers said it would be better to hold China responsible rather than the WHO.
In a classified report issued to the White House last week, according to three US officials who leaked the information to the press, the US intelligence community concluded that China had concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak, both under-reporting total cases, and deaths that occurred in the country.