Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has criticised US President Donald Trump's decision to cut off funding for the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, saying that the word needs the UN body "now more than ever."
Donald Trump, while halting resources, accused the WHO of mishandling the coronavirus crisis as governments grapple with how and when to get their struggling economies back to work. The US contributed $400 million to the WHO last year.
Bill Gates said "halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds."
"Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs WHO now more than ever," he said.
Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever.— Bill Gates (@BillGates) April 15, 2020
The deadly pandemic has already killed more than 125,000 people and infected nearly two million worldwide since it first emerged in China late last year.
Donald Trump had said he could see "rays of light" on the horizon for the world's largest economy, but launched a virulent attack on the WHO for "severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus."
He accused the Geneva-based agency of propagating "false information" and charged that its reliance on Chinese data had "likely caused a 20-fold increase in cases worldwide."
UN chief Antonio Guterres also condemned Donald Trump's remarks and said it is "not the time to reduce the resources" of WHO, adding that the organisation is "absolutely critical to the world's efforts to win the war" against the virus.
(With AFP inputs)