EU: Rethink Cutting WHO Funding 05/30 09:16
The European Union on Saturday urged U.S. President Donald Trump to rethink
his decision to cut American funding for the World Health Organization amid
global criticism of the move, as spiking infection rates in India and elsewhere
served as a reminder the global pandemic is far from contained.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The European Union on Saturday urged U.S. President
Donald Trump to rethink his decision to cut American funding for the World
Health Organization amid global criticism of the move, as spiking infection
rates in India and elsewhere served as a reminder the global pandemic is far
Trump on Friday charged that the WHO didn't respond adequately to the
pandemic, accusing the U.N. agency of being under China's "total control."
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday urged Trump
to reconsider, saying that "actions that weaken international results must be
avoided" and that "now is the time for enhanced cooperation and common
"The WHO needs to continue being able to lead the international response to
pandemics, current and future," she said. "For this, the participation and
support of all is required and very much needed."
The U.S. is the largest source of financial support for the WHO, and its
exit is expected to significantly weaken the organization. Trump said the U.S.
would be "redirecting" the money to "other worldwide and deserving urgent
global public health needs," without providing specifics.
The WHO wouldn't comment on the announcement but South African Health
Minister Zweli Mkhize called it an "unfortunate" turn of events.
"Certainly, when faced with a serious pandemic, you want all nations in the
world to be particularly focused ... on one common enemy," he told reporters.
In China, where the virus outbreak began, only four new confirmed cases were
reported Saturday, all brought from outside the country, and no new deaths.
Just 63 people remained in treatment.
After judging the situation there now safe, a chartered flight carrying 200
German managers back to their jobs landed in Tianijin, a port city just east of
Beijing. A flight carrying another 200 was due in Shanghai on Thursday.
"I'm really happy that business is starting again," said Karin Wasowski, a
Volkswagen employee, before boarding the flight in Frankfurt. "I've been
working from a home office but that is, of course, something completely
different to being there."
More than 5,200 German companies operate in China, employing more than 1
"This is an important step to reconnect China's and Germany's economies,"
said Jens Hildebrandt, executive director of the German Chamber of Commerce in
North China, which helped organize the flights. "It is our common interest to
contribute in helping the economy return to normalcy and pre-virus levels."
Close to 6 million coronavirus infections have been reported worldwide, with
more than 365,000 deaths and almost 2.5 million recoveries, according to a
tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. The true dimensions are widely believed
to be significantly greater, with experts saying many victims died without ever
As some countries have effectively lowered the rate of infections, they have
been moving ahead with relaxing restrictions but are keeping a very close eye
In South Korea, credited with one of the most successful programs to fight
the pandemic, there were 39 new cases reported Saturday, most of them in the
densely populated Seoul metropolitan area where officials have linked the
infections to warehouse workers. Authorities have so far maintained the phased
reopening of schools in the hope that the recent transmissions could be
India registered another record single day jump of 7,964 cases and 265
deaths, a day before it was to end its 2-month-old lockdown.
That put the country's total cases at 173,763 with 4,971 deaths and 82,369
recoveries, according to the Health Ministry.
Still, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said in an open letter that India was
on the path to "victory" in its battle against the virus and would "an example
in economic revival," while asking his countrymen to show "firm resolve."
Russia recorded nearly 9,000 new cases overnight, around the daily level it
has been at over the past two weeks as the virus continues to spread.
The national coronavirus task force said Saturday that 4,555 Russians have
died of COVID-19, and 396,575 infections have been recorded. The relatively low
mortality rate compared with other countries has prompted skepticism
domestically and abroad.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced two peacekeepers serving
in Mali had died from the virus. There have been 137 confirmed cases of
COVID-19 among peacekeepers, the majority in Mali, but these were the first
The U.S. has been worst hit by the outbreak, with more than 1.7 million
cases and almost 103,000 deaths.
Cities and states are under increasing pressure to reopen, however,
especially for service industries that had seen customer numbers evaporate. The
latest job-loss figures from the U.S. Labor Department brought to 41 million
the running total of Americans who have filed for unemployment since shutdowns
took hold in mid-March.
But there have been worrying signs that as restrictions are eased, people
have not been adhering to social distancing guidelines meant to help prevent
the spread of the virus.
On Friday, health officials in Missouri said that they were seeking to
"inform mass numbers of unknown people" after a person who attended crowded
pool parties over Memorial Day weekend at the state's popular Lake of the
Ozarks tested positive for COVID-19.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office said Saturday that as things stand
with the American pandemic situation, if Trump decides to go ahead with the
Group of Seven summit in the U.S. as he has suggested he might, she would not
attend in person.