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15 Apr, 2020 17:08

‘Virus exploiting cracks between us’: WHO responds to Trump cutting funding, promises internal probe

‘Virus exploiting cracks between us’: WHO responds to Trump cutting funding, promises internal probe

World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says its pandemic response will be reviewed in “due course” after President Donald Trump ordered a halt to US funding.

“In due course, [the] WHO’s performance in tackling this pandemic will be reviewed by [the] WHO’s member states and the independent bodies that are in place to ensure transparency and accountability,” Ghebreyesus announced on Wednesday after saying the organization regrets the “decision of the president of the United States to order a halt in funding.”

The director general added that independent reviews will “no doubt” show “areas for improvement” and “lessons for all of us to learn.”

He went on to thank nations who have expressed support for the organization amid the crisis and says the focus of the body right now is “getting on with the job.”

“Our focus – my focus – is on stopping this virus and saving lives,” he said.

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“When we are divided, the virus exploits the cracks between us,” the director general also warned, highlighting the WHO’s work beyond simply Covid-19 in offering online courses and “working to address polio, measles, malaria, Ebola, HIV, tuberculosis, malnutrition, cancer, diabetes, mental health and many other diseases and conditions.”

President Trump announced at a Tuesday press briefing that the US was cutting funding to the WHO, an organization he claims caused “so much death” as a result of its delayed response to the pandemic. The US accounts for $400 million to $500 million of the WHO’s budget every year.

The WHO had also questioned the president’s Chinese travel restrictions, which were put in place in January in response to the pandemic, a move Trump used to blast the organization as “very China centric.”

There are currently more than two million cases of the coronavirus in the world and nearly 130,000 deaths from the disease, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The WHO announced on Wednesday that there are currently three vaccines for the virus starting clinical trials and over 70 more in development.

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