The United States on Thursday said it would resume its funding for the The World Health Orgainsation (WHO) the UN’s health agency, as President Joe Biden shifts towards greater international cooperation in the fight against Covid-19. He also launching a $1.9 trillion plan to tackle the pandemic at home.
And on Day Two, Biden’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci confirmed that the US would continue its hefty payments into the organisation’s budget, prompting a wave of relief among international health experts.
“Under trying circumstances, this organisation has rallied the scientific and research and development community to accelerate vaccines, therapies and diagnostics,” Fauci told a WHO meeting via video-link.
Biden was a fierce critic of Trump’s approach to tackling the virus in the US, which with more than 400,000 people dead is the world’s worst-hit nation.
The new president is seeking to vaccinate 100 million people in 100 days, increase the use of masks and testing, expand the public health workforce and offer more emergency relief to those struggling with the restrictions.
The WHO chief and others jumped in to welcome the US announcements.
“This is a good day for WHO and a good day for global health,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “The role of the United States, its role, global role is very, very crucial.” The two men hinted at a warm relationship between them, with Fauci calling Tedros his “dear friend” and Tedros referring to Fauci as “my brother Tony.”
The White House said later Thursday that Vice President Kamala Harris had discussed many of the same themes as Fauci raised in a call with Tedros. But she emphasized the need to beef up the global response to COVID-19, “mitigate its secondary impacts, including on women and girls,” and work to “prevent the next outbreak from becoming an epidemic or pandemic,” the White House said in a statement.“In addition, the vice president emphasized the importance of making America safer through global cooperation,” it added, highlighting the new tone out of Washington.—AP