U.S. to contribute over $200 mil. to WHO by end of Feb.

Feb 18 , 2021. 2 hours ago – 08:04 KYODO NEWS

Photo illustration shows vials of fake vaccine, a syringe and a logo of the World Health Organization (SOPA/LightRocket/Getty/Kyodo)  

WASHINGTON – The United States will provide over $200 million in funding to the World Health Organization by the end of February as a step toward fulfilling its financial obligations as a member country, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a U.N. Security Council meeting Wednesday.

Blinken’s remarks at the virtual meeting on equitable access to coronavirus vaccines came as the new administration of President Joe Biden has decided to re-engage with the WHO, reversing his predecessor Donald Trump’s plan to sever ties with the U.N. health body which he criticized as China-centric.

Blinken said the $200 million contribution reflects “our renewed commitment to ensuring the WHO has the support it needs to lead the global response to the pandemic, even as we work to reform it for the future.”

“The United States believes that multilateralism, the United Nations, the World Health Organization are essential — not just as an effective international COVID-19 health and humanitarian response, but also building stronger global health capacity and security for the future,” he said.

Meanwhile, Blinken also called on all countries to “make available all data from the earliest days of any outbreak” amid concerns regarding the WHO’s recent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected in late 2019.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Chinese authorities refused to provide WHO team members with raw data on early cases that could help them determine how and when the virus first began to spread in China, citing the WHO investigators.

Blinken did not name any specific countries during his remarks at the U.N. Security Council meeting, but said “all countries should participate in a transparent and robust process for preventing and responding to health emergencies.”

A final report on the investigation has yet to come out, but earlier this month a WHO expert rejected the possibility of the virus having accidentally leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, a suspicion harbored by the Trump administration, saying it is “extremely unlikely.”