(SOUNDBITE) (English) WHO DIRECTOR GENERAL, TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, SAYING: "We regret the decision of the president of the United States to order a halt in the funding to the WHO." The head of the World Health Organization said on Wednesday - as the number of global coronavirus infections passed 2 million - that his agency would have to review ways to continue its work and fill any financial gaps, after President Donald Trump announced he was halting U.S. funding to the agency, which he accused of "severely mismanaging and covering up the spread" of the virus.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "The WHO's attack on travel restrictions put political correctness above lifesaving measures." A day after those remarks, the WHO's Director General called for world unity to fight the pandemic.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) WHO DIRECTOR GENERAL, TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, SAYING: "COVID-19 does not discriminate between rich nations and poor, large nations and small.
It does not discriminate between nationalities, ethnicities or ideologies.
Neither do we.
This is a time for all of us to be united in our common struggle against a common threat - a dangerous enemy.
When we are divided, the virus exploits the cracks between us." The United States is the largest donor to the World Health Organization, which is part of the United Nations.
The U.S. provided more than $400 million to the WHO last year, roughly 15% of its budget -- money that goes toward fighting the world's deadliest diseases.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) WHO DIRECTOR GENERAL, TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, SAYING: "WHO is not only fighting COVID-19.
We are also working to address polio, measles, malaria, Ebola, HIV, tuberculosis, malnutrition, cancer, diabetes, mental health and many other diseases and conditions." Trump's decision to pull funding for the agency has prompted global condemnation from leaders in the political and business world.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the move "senseless," saying in a statement: "'a weak person, a poor leader, takes no responsibility.
A weak person blames others.’ “This decision is dangerous, illegal and will be swiftly challenged.” Bill Gates said on Twitter: "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." (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR OF THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, SAYING: "WHO has been a longterm and still is a great partner for us." On Wednesday, the director of the CDC, who is on Trump's own coronavirus task force, said now was not the time to address what went wrong with efforts to control the spread.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR OF THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, SAYING: "I think it's important at this point that we leave the analysis of what could have been done better and what maybe we did well to once we get through this." Meanwhile, the former head of Britain's MI6 foreign intelligence service, said China concealed crucial information about the outbreak from the rest of the world and that it would be better to hold China responsible rather than the WHO.