Trump threatens World Health Organization funding

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to slash federal funding for the World Health Organization, accusing the United Nations public health agency of being “very China centric” and criticizing its early guidance aimed at countering the international spread of the coronavirus.

“The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

“Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on,” he added. “Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?”

Throughout the administrations response to the pandemic, the president has repeatedly promoted his decision in late January to close the border to foreign nationals who had recently been in China and institute a mandatory two-week quarantine for U.S. citizens returning from the countrys Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.

Those directives broke with a series of WHO recommendations cautioning that “travel bans to affected areas or denial of entry to passengers coming from affected areas are usually not effective in preventing the importation” of coronavirus cases, but may instead “have a significant economic and social impact.”

“In general, evidence shows that restricting the movement of people and goods during public health emergencies is ineffective in most situations and may divert resources from other interventions,” the WHO reported, adding that such measures could “interrupt needed aid and technical support” and “disrupt businesses.”

The WHO did acknowledge, however, that travel restrictions “may have a public health rationale at the beginning of the containment phase of an outbreak, as they may allow affected countries to implement sustained response measures, and non-affected countries to gain time to initiate and implement effective preparedness measures.”

But the restrictions “need to be short in duration, proportionate to the public health risks, and be reconsidered regularly as the situation evolves,” the WHO advised.

The presidents initial order and the administrations subsequent actions, of course, did not heed any of those conditions.

Trumps travel ban was announced after the disease had already begun rampaging across China, not in the early stages of the outbreak, and it did not accompany broader federal efforts to prepare the U.S. for the coming pandemic.

The ban, which has now extended beyond two months, also was not “short in duration” and included exemptions that reportedly allowed nearly 40,000 people to enter the U.S. on direct flights from China.

Public health experts have also warned that travel bans require considerable governmental resouRead More – Source

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