There is no logic in the US terminating its relationship with the World Health Organisation (WHO), a British expert has said.
President Donald Trump said the WHO had failed to adequately respond to coronavirus because China has “total control” over the global organisation.
But Dr Stephen Griffin, associate professor in the School of Medicine, University of Leeds, said there was “no logic” in severing links during the middle of a global pandemic.
“Pandemics are, by definition, a global crisis. To not face Covid-19 with a united front seems futile.
“Given the scale of the outbreak in the US, this action appears nothing short of an attempt to refocus attention away from how this has been handled.”
Dr Gail Carson, director of network development at the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium, said that during a pandemic was not the time to make health political.
Dr Carson, a consultant in infectious diseases at the University of Oxford, added: “If there was a time not to make health political it is now, when the world is in the throes of a pandemic.
“Now is the time for solidarity and to stand together to end the pandemic as soon as we can and to save lives.
“Is this US Government decision going to do good to all?
“WHO stands for the health of all of us and should not be ‘punished’ by any country in the middle of a pandemic because of an opinion, certainly not before any action review process has taken place.
“Now is not the time to weaken the world’s leading health agency, who has shown strong leadership with strong technical messages throughout this pandemic.”
Mr Trump said Chinese officials had “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured the group to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered.
“We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act,” the president said from the White House.
“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating the relationship.”
He noted that the US contributes about 450 million US dollars (£360 million) to the world body while China provides about 40 million dollars (£32 million).
The US is the largest source of financial support to the WHO and its exit is expected to significantly weaken it.
Mr Trump said the US would be “redirecting” the money to “other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs”, without providing specifics.