US will remain a member of WHO, says President Biden

PT Jyothi Datta Mumbai | Updated on January 21, 2021

US President Joe Biden   -  REUTERS

Writes letter to United Nations

The US intends to remain a member of the World Health Organization, US President Joe Biden has said in a letter to the United Nations, setting the ball rolling on mending fences internationally on a host of issues that include health and climate.

The letter to UN Secretary General António Guterres comes within hours of President Biden’s first day in office and it retracts a communication from the US administration in July last year expressing intent to withdraw from the WHO, effective July 6, 2021.

The WHO had come in for some intense criticism from former President Donald Trump for what he called their “China-centric” behaviour in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. The allegation was met with a temperate response from WHO top-brass urging Governments to not politicise the virus.

Crucial role

Turning the clock back, the Biden letter says unequivocally, “The WHO plays a crucial role in the world’s fight against the deadly Covid-19 pandemic as well as countless other threats to global health and health security. The US will continue to be a full participant and a global leader in confronting such threats and advancing global health and health security.”

Responding to the development, WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the US representative, infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci, “WHO is a family of nations. And we are all glad that the US is staying in the family."

Published on January 21, 2021

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