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Joe Biden halts US withdrawal from WHO

News Agencies | Updated on: 21 January 2021, 9:18 IST

Hours after being sworn in, President Joe Biden on Wednesday (local time) informed United Nations Director-General Antonio Guterres about the US' decision to re-join the World Health Organisation.

Walking back on the former administration's plan to withdraw the US from the WHO, Biden said: "This letter constitutes a retraction by the Government of the United States of the letter dated July 6, 2020, notifying you that the Government of the United States intended to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO), effective July 6, 2021. The United States intends to remain a member of the World Health Organization."

In the letter, the President said that the US will be part of WHO's fight against the coronavirus."The WHO plays a crucial role in the world's fight against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic as well as countless other threats to global health and health security. The United States will continue to be a full participant and a global leader in confronting such threats and advancing global health and health security," he said.

Former President Donald Trump had in July last year pulled out the US from the WHO after criticising the body for covering up the outbreak of COVID-19, which emerged in China in 2019. The US had also backed out of a joint global effort led by the WHO to develop, manufacture and distribute a vaccine to cure coronavirus. The decision would have come into effect from July 6 this year.

Besides retracting from WHO, Biden has also taken the decision to re-join the Paris Agreement, from which Trump had pulled out in November last year.

Hours after taking the office, Biden on Wednesday signed 17 executive orders memorandums and proclamations including ending the Muslim travel ban.


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First published: 21 January 2021, 9:18 IST