United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that the World Health Organization (WHO) must be supported, shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump' announcement of halting his country's funding to the organization.
"It is my belief that the World Health Organization must be supported, as it is absolutely critical to the world's efforts to win the war against COVID-19," the secretary-general said in a statement issued by his spokesman.
It is "not the time to reduce the resources for the operations of the World Health Organization or any other humanitarian organization in the fight against the virus," the secretary-general said.
"Once we have finally turned the page on this epidemic, there must be a time to look back fully to understand how such a disease emerged and spread its devastation so quickly across the globe, and how all those involved reacted to the crisis," he said. "The lessons learned will be essential to effectively address similar challenges, as they may arise in the future."
The UN chief noted that "now is the time for unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences."
Guterres also recalled his statement made on April 8 that said "the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most dangerous challenges this world has faced in our lifetime. It is above all a human crisis with severe health and socio-economic consequences" and the WHO is supporting member states and their societies, especially the most vulnerable among them, "with guidance, training, equipment and concrete life-saving services" as they fight the virus.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that his administration is halting the nation's funding to WHO, a move experts have warned against.