Various world leaders have called on Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, to reconsider his decision of withdrawing his country from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
President Trump on Friday announced that he is withdrawing the US from WHO after the United Nations health body failed to implement the reforms demanded by his administration over the global handling of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
But leaders from the European Union, European and African countries have expressed their concerns over the timing and magnitude of the decision.
The EU said what the world needs at this moment is “enhanced co-operation” and not division.
“In the face of this global threat, now is the time for enhanced co-operation and common solutions. Actions that weaken international results must be avoided.
“We urge the US to reconsider its announced decision,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and top EU diplomat, Josep Borrell, said in a joint statement.
German Health Minister, Jens Spahn, described the setback as “disappointing” although he accepted the WHO “needs reform”.
“The EU must take a leading role and engage more financially,” he said.
A spokesperson for the UK government said: “Coronavirus is a global challenge and the World Health Organization has an important role to play in leading the international health response. We have no plans to withdraw our funding.”
South African Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize, called the decision “unfortunate”.
Also speaking, Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the US Senate Health Committee, who is also a Republican like Trump, disagreed with the US President.
Alexander said the move could hamper the discovery of a vaccine against Covid-19 and urged a reversal of the decision in the “strongest terms possible”.
“Certainly there needs to be a good, hard look at mistakes the World Health Organization might have made in connection with coronavirus, but the time to do that is after the crisis has been dealt with, not in the middle of it,” he said.
WHO member states on 19 May agreed to set up an independent inquiry into the global response to the pandemic.