The United States has formalized its exit from the World Health Organization (WHO). This has been confirmed by Democratic Party Senator Bob Menendez on Twitter. The news has been confirmed to the newspaper specialized in political news ‘The Hill’ by a high official of the US government who has asked that his identity not be revealed.
According to these sources, the government of Donald Trump carried out the departure of the major organization on Monday in a letter sent to the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres. Although last May 29 the president had already said that “the United States is terminating its relationship with the WHO”, the translation of that statement into practice was not clear. In April, Washington had suspended its funding to the WHO for three months.
The reason for the US withdrawal from the WHO is the attitude of that agency towards the coronavirus, which Washington accuses of having colluded with the Chinese government to hide the seriousness of the pandemic. The break-up will have very significant financial consequences for the organization.
Washington contributes approximately 22% of the Organization’s budget, while China only provides about 12%, according to data from the American public radio, NPR. In addition, a number of private US donors, led by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, provide another 10% of WHO’s funds. This last item will not be affected by the Trump Government’s decision.
Controversies between Washington and the WHO have been a constant since COVID-19 began hitting that country in late March. One of the biggest targets of criticism from the Trump Executive has been the organisation’s secretary general, the Ethiopian Tedros Adhanom, who some independent observers describe as being extremely close to Beijing.