UK defends WHO, stops short of criticizing Trump for funding cut

# 20:50
15 April 2020

Britain will not follow Washington’s lead on withholding WHO contributions, according to Boris Johnson’s spokesman, who announced that London “has no plans to stop” funding the agency as it “is essential that countries work together” to tackle the global threat of COVID-19, APA reports citing Sputnik.

The prime minister’s spokesman also stressed that the UK’s funding is “not something affected by other countries’ decisions”. Having avoided outright criticism of the US, the spokesman has claimed that Downing Street wants the “WHO to continue to learn lessons on how to improve its response to global health emergencies”.

This rhetoric comes amid heightened tensions on both sides of the Atlantic after Donald Trump announced he would halt the US funding for the WHO and lashed out at the agency for failing in its “basic duty” when it comes to the spread of the virus. Trump also claimed that “a review is conducted to assess the WHO’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus”.

The announcement has been met with criticism across the international community, including the UN and Germany’s top diplomat Heiko Maas, who has stressed that the “virus knows no borders”.

Earlier in April, Britain pledged a 200-million-pound contribution to the UN health agency to help curb the spread of the deadly virus.