U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Monday to permanently halt funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) if it did not commit to improvements within 30 days, and to reconsider the membership of the United States in the body.
Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the pledge Monday after an independent oversight advisory body published its first interim report about the United Nations health agency's response to COVID-19 from January to April. As the chair of the executive body of the WHO, India must now ensure that the inquiry into the timeline and handling of the Covid-19 pandemic is independent and thorough.
Since much of the WHO's fund is held by the Congress, it is not clear how Trump will proceed to freeze WHO's funding.
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"My Administration has already started discussions with you on how to reform the organization", the letter reads. "We are considering it", the US President said when asked if he was considering a travel ban on Latin America, and Brazil in particular.
The background: Trump had initially praised China's response to the pandemic, but as the USA death toll rose and criticism of his administration's own response mounted, he shifted to attacking both World Health Organization and Beijing.
"We call on the worldwide community to enhance political and funding support for WHO" in order to defeat the virus, he said.
Ghebreyesus also acknowledged that he had received a letter from Trump who threatened to withdraw from the World Health Organization and permanently withhold funding earlier this week.
The WHO cut short this year's assembly due to the pandemic.
"We have of course received the letter and we are looking into it". Such a review was demanded by member states in a resolution this week that was passed by consensus, although the United States expressed reservations about some elements of it.