LONDON – Government officials and researchers from around the world on Saturday criticized President Trump for breaking ties with the World Health Organization during the global pandemic.
Jens Spahn, Germany’s health minister, tweeted that Trump’s decision to end the US relationship with the organization was “a disappointing defeat for international health.”
Spahn added that the WHO “needs reform”
It is a disappointing setback for International Health. If @WHO will make any difference to the future it needs to reform. And the EU must take a leading role and become more financially involved. It’s one of ours @BMG priorities for our EU Presidency. # EU2020BMG
– Jens Spahn (@jensspahn) May 30, 2020
South Africa’s Health Minister Zweli Mkhize called the move “unfortunate.”
“Sure, when you’re facing a serious pandemic, you want all nations of the world to be especially focused … on a common enemy,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
A number of researchers from the international community also came forward to express their support for the organization.
Peter Doherty, Nobel laureate and founder of the Doherty Institute, who has played a prominent role in Australia’s response to the crisis, tweeted that WHO is “central to the global fight against COVID-19.” He added that “leadership has worked too cautiously in some of its statements”, but said that “much of the WHO’s real, essential work” continues at lower, professional levels.
Gail Carson, director of network development at the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium, warned that a pandemic was “not the time” to do health policy.
Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet medical journal based in the UK, wrote: “We give our 100% support to the World Health Organization at this time of crisis.”
“The US government has become false at a time of humanitarian emergency,” he wrote.