03:01 GMT09 July 2020
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    COVID-19 Puts Nations on Hold (281)
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    Since the emergence of COVID-19, China and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have initiated a series of measures to curb the spread of the disease. Yet, the US has claimed their efforts have not been substantial while also accusing China of being responsible for the spread of coronavirus.

    "WHO, while burdened often with bureaucracy and politics, has been a positive influence in providing global health leadership. Establishing an alternative competing organisation will not be easy nor cost effective. ...I do not support establishing an alternative organisation, especially one that is beholden to one country. In all likelihood it would be an arm of foreign policy and degrade global health awareness and cooperation", Earl Rasmussen, a researcher and executive vice president of the think tank Eurasia Centre, said.

    Meanwhile, the US response to the virus, according to Rasmussen, has been influenced by four major factors: dividing blame between the WHO and China; continuous perception of China as the enemy even amid the pandemic; seeing China as favoured by the WHO in the current situation; and asserting that the WHO should be more supportive of Washington's objectives since the US is its main funder.

    "The latest moves against WHO should not be a surprise, this is after all and election year. Recent policy statements and decisions have resulted in the withdrawal or threat of withdrawal of US support from Climate Control and the JCPOA Agreement with Iran to NATO and Nuclear Arms Agreements", Rasmussen said.

    Even amid the pandemic, the US has continued to exert pressure on a number of countries. Washington has repeatedly refused to relieve sanctions against Iran that hinder its access to medical supplies during the coronavirus epidemic and has pressed charges against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whose country Venezuela is also facing challenges from the threat of COVID-19.

    According to Rasmussen, the US rhetoric regarding COVID-19 is more to shift pressure from the current administration to someone/somewhere else, whether that be China or the WHO.

    "...If we look at the situation, China seems to have the pandemic under control, and it is China along with Russia and Cuba which seems to be sending international aid and assistance around the world, even to the US. These efforts of the US "political pressure" and blame ...do nothing to support global solutions which are sorely needed", the expert concluded.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    COVID-19 Puts Nations on Hold (281)
    experts, disease, health, China, Trump Administration, United States, virus
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