WHO Officials Reject Trump’s ‘China-Centric’ Claim

Senior Officials leading the World Health Organization’s response to the coronavirus pandemic responded Wednesday to President Donald Trump, who threatened Tuesday to pause funding to the organization claiming it’s “China-centric.”

“We are still in the acute phase of a pandemic so now is not the time to cut back on funding,” Dr Hans Kluge, WHO Europe’s Regional Director told reporters Wednesday.

During Tuesday’s White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, President Trump criticized the WHO for not warning the world about the virus early on saying they “could have called it months earlier.” Notably, Trump instituted a travel ban on China on January 31, which the WHO called unnecessary.

The U.S. is the number one contributor to the WHO. In fact, the U.S. provided nearly 15 percent of the WHO’s budget between 2018 and 2019.

“It was absolutely critical in the early part of this outbreak to have full access to everything possible, to get on the ground and work with the Chinese to understand this.” Dr Bruce Aylward, Senior Advisor to the Director General, said during the Wednesday meeting, “This is what we did with every other hard-hit country like Spain and had nothing to do with China specifically.”

Dr. Aylward led the WHO trip to China in February and commended the country’s “very hard” work in containing the virus, according to Reuters.

“China worked very, hard very early on, once it understood what it was dealing with, to try and identify and detect all potential cases to make sure that they got tested to trace all the close contacts and make sure they were quarantined so they actually knew where the virus was, where the risk was,” Aylward said.

He continued, “Then they made it very clear that these people would not and could not travel within the country, let alone internationally.”