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Coronavirus: Make No Mistake, Trump’s Decision to Halt WHO Funding Was a Duly Desideratum

Updated on April 16, 2020
Pendhamma S profile image

Pendhamma Sindhusen is an independent political columnist and analyst.

President Trump at a press conference on Tuesday announcing the US's defunding of the World Health Organization
President Trump at a press conference on Tuesday announcing the US's defunding of the World Health Organization

President Trump announced at a Coronavirus Task Force press conference on Tuesday that his administration would immediately halt funding for the World Health Organization (WHO). Though criticized by many in the media and many ideologues who’ve been inexorably channeling the blame on the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic to him, the decision was a duly desideratum.

The WHO has been deliric in performing its solemn duty to serve humanity and deliver for its welfare and safety. Moreover, it’s seemingly kowtowed to the undue influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and become its echo chamber instead of an international body representing every sovereign nation and state in a fair, nondiscriminatory manner. Of course, this is not only my own view, but a view shared by many experts and world leaders alike.

The incumbent superintendent of the body, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is a native Ethiopian, and China’s been magnanimously pouring investments into his country as a part of its project to expand its trade and economic influence to the entire African continent. This raises serious skepticisms over the immense possibility of an authoritative tie between the 2 entities, especially taking into account their actions in the past several months with regards to Coronavirus response.

Back in December of 2019, when the novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 assumed eminence in Wuhan, the WHO showed no concern over the outbreak and readily parroted every information the Chinese government publicated to the entire world. And even though there was palpable evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus, the organization indifferently refused to carry out investigations.

People wearing face masks at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan, China, in January
People wearing face masks at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan, China, in January

It would continue to maintain its assertion that the virus could not spread from human to human until late January. It did so even as health officials from Taiwan had issued warnings about the virus’s infectiousness, postulating human-to-human transmission, long before that.

Unfortunately, Taiwan’s sovereignty has been adamantly opposed by mainland China from the earliest days of the state and the Chinese communist party’s successfully blocked it from entering international delegations like the UN and its suborganizations including the WHO. As a result, those warnings were completely neglected. Had they been considered, adequate awareness and concerns about the new pathogen would have arisen and spurred proper efforts to contain it early on.

The fact that they weren’t enabled the expansive dispersal of COVID-19. On January 14, the WHO still affirmed no human-to-human transmission capability of the virus in a tweet referring to “preliminary investigations” conducted by Chinese authorities. 6 days later, it would report merely “limited” evidence of such capability while also dismissing the discovery as typical of respiratory ailments. Without doubt, this triggered a disastrous but avoidable delay in scrutiny and coping of Coronavirus.

But the organization’s complicity barely ends there. Despite glaring mismanagements of the contagion by the Chinese government and looming consensus that it’s engaged in massive misinformation and cover-ups, its chief Ghebreyesus defends China after a meeting with its premier Xi Jinping on January 28, applauding his regime’s “transparency” and efficient handling of the outbreak. The WHO’s sycophancy towards it was patent.

WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus with Chinese premier Xi Jinping on January 28
WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus with Chinese premier Xi Jinping on January 28

At the same time, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Australia had already emerged. Yet, it declined to announce an international public health emergency after a meeting on January 22. Instead it waited for 8 days to make the announcement. And only until March 11, weeks after Coronavirus had metastasized globally, would it declare COVID-19 a pandemic. Apparently the organization failed to put the world on alert in a timely manner, and that proved to have compromised global response efforts and spelled devastating consequences for the cosmopolitan community.

What’s more, when China imposed a quarantine on its Hubei province against the rest of the country but still allowed transnational flights, which undoubtedly countenanced outbound transmission of Coronavirus, not a word of objection came from the WHO. The organization did not demand the country to shut down its borders whatsoever, and that rendered the whole world susceptible to contracting the new disease.

Its director Ghebreyesus even claimed if “it weren't for China, the number of cases outside China would have been very much higher” while also asseverating that there was no need for measures that “unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade” at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. A double facepalm there.

The organization would sustain its course in opposing travel restrictions until it was too late. When President Trump ventured to take action and promulgate a travel ban from China, the decision was confronted with critiques from many domestic detractors and foreign dissenters alike. WHO and China, which was troubled about its economic and political interests, were among them.

Chinese ambassador-at-large Li Song excoriated it with an admonition that “all these measures are seriously against recommendation by the WHO.” In the meantime, at a meeting with the WHO executive board in early February, Ghebreyesus lambasted the idea of travel restrictions that he deemed would “have the effect of increasing fear and stigma, with little public health benefit”.

Unquestionably, they were wrong. President Trump’s bold decision has been extensively credited by medical experts with helping to decelerate SARS-CoV-2’s spread into the United States. Now imagine if other countries haven’t been discouraged by gravely delusional WHO guidelines and followed suit. Imagine if the WHO had prioritized public health safety over its blasé perception and whatever geopolitical interests or clout that in reality dictated its judgement and deterred it from making a basic and sound resolution and exhort nations of the world to implement travel restrictions of their own. Wouldn’t that have exterminated the prospect of a worldwide pandemic? Wouldn’t it have spared hundreds of thousands of lives lost along the course of this crisis?

Travelers with face masks check in at the Air China counter at San Francisco International Airport in late January
Travelers with face masks check in at the Air China counter at San Francisco International Airport in late January

China lied and still continues to lie about the state of COVID-19 crisis within the country, and the World Health Organization willfully repeated its lies and propagated them throughout the world with celerity. The CCP’s silenced doctors and scientific researchers who’ve come out to disseminate information about their Coronavirus findings, and the WHO’s turned a blind eye to that.

In short, the organization’s not only acquiesced to China’s malicious practice of suppression and misinformation but even aided and abetted it. Whatever culpability China holds for the pandemic is also shared by the World Health Organization that failed to notify the world punctually and advise it of an appropriate course of actions.

The WHO has been China’s accomplice in exposing the world to a virulent strain of virus that so far has infected almost 2 million people and put more than 120,000 names on obituaries. President Trump’s decision to defund it came at the appropriate moment with a justifiable ground. In other words, it was purely a duly desideratum.

© 2020 Pendhamma Sindhusen


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