Shape up in 30 days or face permanent funds-freeze, Trump warns WHO

PT Jyothi Datta Mumbai | Updated on May 19, 2020 Published on May 19, 2020

US President Donald Trump   -  Reuters

This, amidst calls for a strong WHO, and agreement on independent review

The world needs a stronger WHO was the message from many quarters at the 73rd World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of the World Health Organisation being hosted virtually from Geneva.

This, even as the US continued its relentless attack against WHO. Against the backdrop of the two-day assembly, US President Donald Trump sent a letter to WHO Director, General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, calling for “substantive improvements” to the WHO in one month. In the absence of this, the letter said, he would make permanent the US’ temporary freeze on funding to WHO, besides reconsidering its membership.

Trump’s unhappiness with the WHO stems from what he calls its too “China-centric” approach towards Covid-19. Trump did not address the assembly’s inaugural session, even as other top global leaders did. In fact, the address that many closely tuned in to was that of Chinese President Xi Jinping who committed $2 billion to WHO over two years.

Away from the political blame-game, health advocacy groups are hoping that the assembly will also see world leaders commit to equitable access to vaccines, medicines and medical tech being developed to tackle the virus.

This is more so as two Covid vaccine projects recently reported developments, one positive, the other not so.

The vaccine candidate from Moderna is getting into the second phase of the clinical trial on the back of positive developments. But the Oxford Vaccine Group suffered a setback with the vaccine candidate showing only partial protection against the virus in monkeys.

Operations review

Amid the criticism and support, WHO’s chief cautioned in his opening day remarks that a majority of the world’s population was still susceptible to this virus. “The risk remains high and we have a long road to travel,” he said. Highlighting the WHO’s efforts, he said, “We have called for equitable access to vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics through the ACT Accelerator.”

On calls for transparency and accountability, he said the Independent Oversight Advisory Committee had just published its first report on the pandemic, with several recommendations for both the Secretariat and Member States. But for reviews to be truly comprehensive, “such an evaluation must encompass the entirety of the response by all actors, in good faith,” he added.

Published on May 19, 2020

A letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu Business Line editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.