The United States has begun its formal withdrawal from the World Health Organisation (WHO), a US senator said on Wednesday.
The US Congress received notification from the formal withdrawal on Tuesday evening, in a move which a US senator said leaves “Americans sick and America alone” as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage American cities.
“Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the US from the WHO in the midst of a pandemic,” Senator Bob Menendez tweeted, calling President Donald Trump’s management of the pandemic “chaotic and incoherent.”
The withdrawal follows a decision in April to freeze funds for the globe’s top health authority, which came amidst claims by Trump that the WHO was under the influence of China, where the viral pandemic first broke out.
As the Trump administration threatened to end 70 years of WHO membership as it announced the fund freeze, Belgium pledged to continue to support the agency throughout the pandemic.
The withdrawal coincides a new record of daily infections in the US, where 60,000 new coronavirus cases were detected in the last 24 hours.
The US currently leads the world in number of coronavirus cases, as over 2.9 million cases have been detected since the start of the pandemic, and 131,480 people have died, more than 1,000 of them in the past 24 hours.
As the US gears up for presidential elections in November, the decision to remove the US from the WHO could be reversed if Trump is defeated by his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.