Bill Gates has condemned Donald Trump’s decision to suspend funding for the World Health Organization, saying it is “as dangerous as it sounds”.
The billionaire Microsoft founder tweeted that the world needs the health body more than ever.
Trump’s controversial decision, which he said was made over the WHO’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, has drawn condemnation from infectious diseases experts.
It comes as the global death toll from the virus continues to mount – nearly 2 million people globally have been infected and more than 124,000 have died since it emerged in China late last year, according to a Reuters tally.
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.Loading...
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) April 15, 2020
The US president, who has reacted angrily to criticism of his administration’s response to the worst epidemic in a century, has become increasingly hostile towards the WHO.
He said the Geneva-based body had promoted Chinese “disinformation” that led to a wider outbreak than otherwise would have occurred.
“The WHO failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable,” he said on Tuesday.
UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said it was not the time to reduce resources for the WHO.
“Now is the time for unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences,” he said in a statement.