United States president Donald Trump has effectively given the World Heath Organization an ultimatum.
Trump is threatening to withdraw funding from the US for research into the Covid-19 pandemic currently sweeping the world.
His letter to the WHO includes notification of a 30-day deadline for the health body to commit to “substantive improvements” – or risk losing millions of dollars and the support of the US.
“On April 14, 2020, I suspended United States contributions to the World Health Organization pending an investigation by my Administration of the organization’s failed response to the COVID-19 outbreak,” read an excerpt from Trump’s letter to WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“This review has confirmed many of the serious concerns I raised last month and identified others that the World Health Organization should have addressed, especially the World Health Organization’s alarming lack of independence from the People’s Republic of China. Based on this review, we now know the following:
“The World Health Organization consistently ignored credible reports of the virus spreading in Wuhan in early December 2019 or even earlier, including reports from the Lancet medical journal. The World Health Organization failed to independently investigate credible reports that conflicted directly with the Chinese government’s official accounts, even those that came from sources within Wuhan itself.
“You also strongly praised China’s strict domestic travel restrictions, but were inexplicably against my closing of the United States border, or the ban, with respect to people coming from China. I put the ban in place regardless of your wishes. Your political gamesmanship on this issue was deadly, as other governments, relying on your comments, delayed imposing life-saving restrictions on travel to and from China.”
The 73-year-old Trump, meanwhile, has confirmed he is taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventatitve measure against the virus. Hydroxychloroquine, however, has been deemed unsafe by health officials.
“I’m taking it for about a week and a half now and I’m still here, I’m still here,” he added.
“You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the frontline workers before you catch it, the frontline workers, many, many are taking it. I happen to be taking it.”