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US ready to exit the World Health Organization

File image. Picture: Manu Fernandez/AP

Washington – The United States officially notified the UN
secretary general of the country’s withdrawal from the World
Health Organization on Tuesday, setting in motion the country’s exit
from the global body.

US President Donald Trump in May said he would withdraw from the WHO,
accusing the organisation of failing in the coronavirus pandemic and
being a puppet of China. Trump also announced a funding halt to the
WHO in a move that has drawn concern, including from US allies.

The move, effective July 6, 2021, was confirmed by a US senior
administration official, the UN and later the WHO itself.

The WHO offered no further comment.

A spokesman for the UN noted that exit conditions include giving a
one-year notice and “fully meeting” financial obligations.

Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Affairs
Committee, earlier said the Trump administration had notified
Congress of the US withdrawal and was sharply critical of the

“To call Trump’s response to Covid chaotic & incoherent doesn’t do it
justice. This won’t protect American lives or interests-it leaves
Americans sick & America alone,” Menendez said on Twitter.

A chorus of Democrats followed in slamming the administration,
warning on the dangers of exiting a global health body in middle of a

“On my first day as President, I will rejoin the WHO and restore our
leadership on the world stage,” Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee to
run for president against Trump in November, wrote on Twitter.

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, tweeted
that the WHO withdrawal is an “act of true senselessness.”

Allies, notably in Europe, have expressed concern over the US
withdrawal and funding suspension, given the outsized role of
Washington in bankrolling the organization.

Trump has been pushing blame onto China for the pandemic, even as he
faces mounting domestic criticism over his own handling of the virus.

Much of his anger has been focused on the claim Beijing was not
transparent about the virus’ spread in December and January.

After a period in which the US managed to flatten the curve, and
significantly control the spread in hotspots like New York, new
epicentres have emerged in recent weeks in Florida, Texas and other
southern states.

A number of states are smashing daily caseload records, even as death
rates continue to decline.

The US resurgence comes as other wealthy nations are seeing
significantly lower caseloads.

Trump has downplayed the resurgence, saying it is the result of
expanded testing, though governors have dismissed this reasoning, as
hospitalization rates are also rising.

The president, facing re-election in November, has shifted his focus
to reopening the economy. He was hosting a discussion Tuesday on
reopening schools.


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