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Coronavirus: SA calls on Trump to reconsider decision to cut funding to WHO

The international relations department noted Donald Trumps' decision came right at the time when the COVID-19 outbreak hit Africa.

FILE: US President Donald Trump, joined by members of the coronavirus task force, speaks during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, in the press briefing room of the White House on 25 March 2020 in Washington, DC. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Government on Wednesday called on US President Donald Trump to reconsider his decision to cut funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO) over its handling of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Trump came under fire from world leaders and major health authorities following his announcement.

More than two million people have been infected with the coronavirus since it was first detected in China in December, while more than 134,000 people died from the virus, most of them in the US.

China was widely criticised for missteps in the early stages of the outbreak before it spread to the rest of the world.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said it was “particularly alarmed” that the US made this drastic decision to withdraw funding from the WHO amid a global health crisis.

“The government of the Republic of South Africa is very concerned and alarmed at the announcement by the President of the United States of America to cut funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO) with immediate effect," Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela said in a statement. “South Africa is particularly alarmed that the decision is made amid a global health crisis that requires a full capacity World Health Organisation to provide support in combatting the deadly COVID -19 pandemic.”

The department also noted Trump's decision came right at the time when the COVID-19 outbreak hit Africa. Dirco said the international community had to stand together now more than ever before.

The department hoped Trump would reconsider his decision and re-join the rest of the world’s efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.