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EU Calls On Trump to Rethink Cutting WHO Funding


FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, May 18, 2020.

The European Union is calling on U.S. President Donald Trump to reconsider his decision to stop funding the World Health Organization in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic that is seeing spikes in India and elsewhere.

Trump announced his decision Friday, accusing the WHO of not responding adequately to the global outbreak and being under China’s “total control.”

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said in a joint statement Saturday that “The W.H.O. needs to continue being able to lead the international response to pandemics, current and future.”

“Actions that weaken international results must be avoided,” the EU officials added. “We urge the U.S. to reconsider its announced decision.”

Trump’s decision came after China pledged $2 billion last week to the WHO over the next two years to help contain the outbreak as COVID-19 cases increased sharply in India.

India reported a record daily increase of 7,964 new infections on Saturday, a continuation of a recent surge in cases as lockdown restrictions are beginning to be relaxed.

The recent surge increases the chances that Prime Minister Narendra Modi could extend curbs beyond May 31 after 65 days of lockdown.

Infection rates have also climbed in Israel, especially in schools that reopened weeks ago. The government said Friday it may reimpose restrictions if the trend continues. The number of new infections increased to 101 on Friday from four last Saturday.

In the U.S., states continued to reopen as the death toll topped a world-leading 103,000 and despite warnings from scientists that moves to reopen are premature. At least five U.S. states have reported record high numbers of new infections.

A woman passes a fence outside Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery adorned with tributes to victims of COVID-19, May 28, 2020, in New York.
A woman passes a fence outside Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery adorned with tributes to victims of COVID-19, May 28, 2020, in New York.

Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, where COVID-19 has killed more than 20,000 people, said Friday New York City is on track to begin reopening on June 8. He said the city, the hot spot in the U.S., is meeting goals that have been established for hospital infection rates and testing.

Other large U.S. cities such as Los Angeles and Washington have also announced additional reopening plans that allow small businesses to open their doors under new safety guidelines.

On Monday in Britain, some schools are set to reopen and social meetings will be allowed, despite warnings against relaxing restrictions from scientists.

Three British scientific advisors said the number of daily infections is still too high to relax restrictions. The scientists also contend the government’s track and trace system is not yet fully operational, and that the virus’s reproduction rate is not yet low enough.

Over 38,000 people have died in Britain after testing positive for COVID-19, the highest official death toll in Europe.

A University of Edinburgh epidemiologist told Britain’s Guardian newspaper the coronavirus “might turn out to be a lifelong relationship” with humanity.

Mark Woolhouse said that without a vaccine and given the improbability of maintaining social distancing that “a second wave really is a clear and present danger.”

The worldwide number of coronavirus infections approached nearly 6 million and the death toll surpassed 366,000 Saturday, according to John’s Hopkins University statistics.

The U.S. leads all other countries in infections by far, with more than 1.7 million and in fatalities, with over 103,000.

Fern Robinson contributed to this report.