World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday that the organization welcomed the pledge that the United States will remain a member of the WHO.
“WHO is a family of nations. And we are all glad that the United States is staying in the family,” the WHO chief said at the on-going meeting of the 148th session of the WHO Executive Board, following an announcement by Anthony Fauci, new representative of the United States, at the meeting.
Tedros added that the WHO looked forward to continuing the partnership with the United States as all member states do.
“We must work together as one family to ensure all countries can start vaccinating health workers and other high-risk groups in the first 100 days of 2021. With your commitment, we are one step closer,” he said.
The European Union on Thursday also welcomed the announcement made by the United States of their support to WHO. “We welcome the new Administration’s commitment to multilateral diplomacy and international alliances.
The European Union looks forward to working closely with the United States to strengthen the United Nations’ ability to address global challenges,” the EU said in a statement announced at Thursday’s WHO Executive Board meeting.
Earlier on Thursday, Fauci told the WHO Executive Board meeting that on Jan. 20, U.S. President Joe Biden signed letters retracting the previous administration’s announcement to withdraw from the WHO, and those letters have been transmitted to the UN.
“I am honored to announce that the United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization,” said Fauci.
More than seven months ago, on May 29, 2020, former U.S. President Donald Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the WHO. Biden’s decision comes at a time when the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the United States has surpassed the grim milestone of 400,000 and the global number of people infected by the virus has reached 90 million.
At Thursday’s meeting, Fauci also told the WHO that the new U.S. administration will issue a directive later in the day, which will include the intent of the United States to join COVAX, a WHO-led initiative aimed at ensuring equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines.