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Anger as virus-stricken US quits WHO

Thursday July 9th 2020

A leading medical charity has condemned as "highly irresponsible" the latest steps by US president Donald Trump to leave the World Health Organisation.

The USA yesterday gave formal notice of its intention to quit the WHO as it recorded its highest rate of daily COVID-19 infections.

Deaths remained relatively low as the virus rampaged across the US sun-belt states.

In total US states reported 61,848 cases of infection yesterday and 890 deaths from the virus.

Texas reported 10,199 cases and 121 deaths while Florida reported 9,989 cases and 49 deaths.

Mr Trump has blamed the WHO for allegedly reaching a deal with China to delay declaring a global emergency at the beginning of the year. WHO said yesterday it would be working with China to investigate zoonotic infections and develop a scientific plan to pinpoint the source of the SARS-COV-2 virus.

But Dr Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome, said: "The WHO is doing an extraordinary job ensuring every country can tackle COVID-19, protect citizens and save lives. No other organisation can do what they do.

“It is more important than ever that the WHO can operate at full strength to not only bring this pandemic to an end but to ensure it continues improving the health, wellbeing and livelihoods of people around the world now and in the future. It will play a central role in our way out of this pandemic and in addressing the health challenges we will all face in the 21st Century. This is only achieved through solidarity, not division.

“It is unthinkable and highly irresponsible to withdraw funding from the WHO during one of the greatest health challenges of our lifetime. Health leaders in the USA bring tremendous technical expertise, leadership and influence, and their loss from the world stage will have catastrophic implications, leaving the US and global health weaker as a result.”

Tags: Flu & Viruses | North America

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