Thursday, February 29, 2024

‘Biden admin believes WHO is vital to contain pandemic’


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Washington, Jan 22: The Biden administration believes that the WHO is vital to controlling the spread of COVID-19 and building back better global health and pandemic preparedness, Vice President Kamala Harris has told WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a day after the US rejoined the UN health agency.
The US rejoined the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday in one of the first official orders of the Joe Biden presidency, reversing a key foreign policy decision his predecessor Donald Trump took last year after accusing the UN health agency of incompetence and bowing to Chinese pressure over the coronavirus pandemic.
In April last year, as the coronavirus pandemic was spreading across the globe, Trump cut off US funding to the WHO, saying it was “virtually controlled by China.” He then went further, triggering the process to pull the US completely out of the organisation.
The withdrawal was due to go into effect in July this year, but Biden’s order will cancel it. During her phone call on Thursday, Harris discussed the decision by the Biden administration to rejoin the WHO with the health agency’s Director-General Dr. Ghebreyesus.
Harris emphasised that she and Biden believe that the WHO is vital to controlling the spread of COVID-19 and building back better global health and pandemic preparedness, according to a readout of the call issued by the White House.
“The vice president and the director-general also discussed the resumption of the United States’ role in the global public health and humanitarian response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.
Harris also stressed on the Biden-Harris administration’s strong support for efforts to strengthen the global COVID-19 response, mitigate its secondary impacts, including on women and girls, and advance global health security to prevent the next outbreak from becoming an epidemic or pandemic.
She emphasised the importance of making the US safer through global cooperation, the White House said. Ghebreyesus thanked Harris for the call and congratulated her and Biden on their inauguration. (PTI)


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