The Donald Trump administration has sent a letter officially notifying the United Nations that the United States is leaving the World Health Organization.
This comes two months after Donald Trump halted funding to WHO and threatened to withdraw U.S. from Organization over Coronavirus response.
In an email to reporters, a U.N. spokesman confirmed that it received the notification: “On 6 July 2020, the United States of America notified the Secretary-General … of its withdrawal from the World Health Organization, effective on 6 July 2021,” wrote Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, adding that the U.N. is checking with WHO to see if all the conditions for withdrawal have been met.
According to reports, to leave the organization, the U.S. is supposed to give a one-year notice and pay outstanding dues. As of June 30, the U.S. owed $198 million in unpaid membership dues.
Trump has repeatedly criticized WHO for being slow in responding to the Coronavirus pandemic describing the body as “China-centric” and “a puppet of China”. He also blamed China for trying to cover up the Coronavirus outbreak.
Rep. James Comer (Ky.), the ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee, called the withdrawal “the right decision.”
“Until the WHO undergoes some serious reforms, it doesn’t deserve our money or our membership,” he said in a statement.
Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the World Health Organization has also sparked criticism.
US presidential candidate and former Vice-president, Joe Biden, said Tuesday that, if elected, he would immediately rejoin the organization and “restore our leadership on the world stage.”
“The World Health Organization will not disappear,” said Jimmy Kolker, a former ambassador who was the chief health diplomat for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration. He told NPR: “What will happen instead is that the U.S. role will be diminished and that we won’t be able to bring our best experts into the room when discussions are taking place.”
In a statement, the American Medical Association said, “The Trump administration’s official withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO) puts the health of our country at grave risk.
“We join in strong opposition to this decision, which is a major setback to science, public health, and global coordination efforts needed to defeat COVID-19.”