US gives formal notice it is withdrawing from World Health Organisation next year

The United Nations announced the country would withdraw from the organisation after it received a letter from president Donald Trump more than a month ago.

Mr Trump gave the WHO a one-year notice of his intention to withdraw from the UN health organisation.

The US joined the organisation in 1948 and currently owes the WHO more than $200m in back contributions. The US’s contribution to the WHO accounted for approximately 15 per cent of the organisation’s budget.

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The US announced it would withdraw from the World Health Organisation in a statement Tuesday.

Mr Trump threatened to leave the organisation last month after claiming the organisation was unwilling to challenge China regarding the coronavirus.

“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organisation and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent public heath needs,” Mr Trump said in a statement today. “The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency.”

Democrats were predictably angered by Mr Trump’s unilateral move to end the US’s relationship with the WHO.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi called Mr Trump’s original threats to leave the WHO “dangerous” and “illegal”.

New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez of New Jersey chastised the president on Twitter.

“Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the US from the @WHO in the midst of a pandemic,” he wrote. “To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic & incoherent doesn’t do it justice. This won’t protect American lives or interests – it leaves Americans sick & America alone.”

Republicans on the party’s China task force urged Mr Trump to reconsider leaving the organisation, arguing the US would be a more effective agent of change if it remained within the WHO rather than abandoning it altogether.

Health officials fear that a US withdrawal could impact current clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine and other treatments.

Mr Trump’s move to leave the organisation comes at a time when coronavirus cases are surging in the US. As of Tuesday, the US has reported nearly 3 million coronavirus cases and more than 130,000 people are reported to have died from the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The US withdrawal is not effective until next year, and could be reversed during that time. Joe Biden, who is the presumptive Democratic candidate who will run against Mr Trump is the 2020 US election, has not stated whether or not he will maintain the plan to leave the organisation should he be elected.

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