President Trump has announced that US payments to the World Health Organization will be stopped. He accuses the WHO of failing to fight the coronavirus pandemic and has attacked the organization as being China-friendly.
In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, US President Donald Trump puts the payments for the World Health Organization (WHO) on hold. He instructed the government to stop paying contributions while reviewing WHO’s role in “poorly handling and hiding the spread of the coronavirus,” Trump said in the White House rose garden. The WHO’s mismanagement and reliance on information from China has dramatically worsened the epidemic and spread it around the world, Trump said.
The organization’s numerous mistakes are responsible for “so many deaths,” Trump said. In particular, the president criticized the fact that the WHO had spoken out against entry bans from China. Trump continued to criticize this policy as wasting “valuable time” in containing the epidemic. The WHO also failed to critically and promptly review the information provided by the Chinese government. With faster and more determined intervention by the WHO, the epidemic could have been confined to its place of origin with just a few deaths, Trump claimed.
Trump: WHO too China-friendly
Trump had made serious allegations to the WHO last week and said the organization had “really screwed up” in the pandemic. He then threatened WHO to stop paying contributions. Trump had suggested that WHO “probably” knew more at the beginning of the pandemic than it disclosed. Trump had also complained that the WHO was too focused on China – even though the United States paid a large part of the WHO budget.
The WHO, based in Geneva, is the United Nations’ main health agency. According to the organization, less than a quarter of its budget consists of the mandatory contributions of the member states. The USA is the largest payer in this group: almost $ 116 million is due for 2020 and 2021, respectively. China’s contribution for these two years is around $ 57 million each.
China’s contributions have increased significantly in recent years: in 2018 and 2019, they were still at $ 37.9 million each, while they remained almost the same in the United States. Germany currently has to pay $ 29 million a year. The amount of membership fees depends on the population size and the prosperity of the country, according to the WHO.
WHO rejects Trump’s allegations
The WHO had countered Trump’s allegations and threats with a dramatic appeal. Abusing the corona virus for political purposes is the most harmful thing that can happen now, said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva last week. Only unity helps “if you don’t want to risk a lot more body bags”.
After Trump’s criticism, Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had backed the WHO and pointed out its “indispensable role in this pandemic”. With regard to the WHO, the impression came up that Trump wants to distract from his own mistakes in the crisis. The Republican had long publicly downplayed the risk of the corona virus. He maintained until early March that the virus was no cause for concern for the United States. Trump is now vehemently resisting the allegation that he reacted too slowly to the outbreak and claims that he has done everything in his power and listened to the advice of experts.