Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn gave the first clear-cut European reaction to President Trump’s announcement, calling it a “disappointing backlash for international health.

This latest reaction comes from the EU’s foreign affairs chief, Josep Borell, and the head of the EU’s executive, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

In their statement, they say on 19 May all WHO member states agreed to start “at the earliest appropriate moment” a thorough review of the international health response to the virus.

“Evaluating our global response is necessary as there are lessons to be learnt from this pandemic, its outbreak and response to it… the evaluation of our collective performance at international level is only a necessary process, aiming at strengthening health security.”

It adds: “The WHO needs to continue being able to lead the international response to pandemics, current and future. For this, the participation and support of all is required and very much needed.”

“In the face of this global threat, now is the time for enhanced cooperation and common solutions. Actions that weaken international results must be avoided. In this context, we urge the US to reconsider its announced decision.”