DONALD TRUMP'S administration has formally begun the process of withdrawing the United States from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The President has been extremely vocal of both his disdain and his distrust of the WHO in light of what he described as a their "China-centric" approach to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
In April, he threatened to withold America's annual $400 million contributions to the organisation, and announced plans to officially withdraw last month.
This week, the Trump administration has formally sent a notice to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, a State Department spokesperson confirmed.
The Trump administration has said that the WHO ignored early signs of human-to-human transmission in China, including warnings from Taiwan - which, due to Beijing’s pressure, is not part of the UN body.
While many public health advocates share some criticism of the WHO, they question what other options the world body had other than to work with China, where Covid-19 was first detected late last year in the city of Wuhan.
Critics of Trump's have voiced their outrage at America's departure from the Geneva-based body, which leads the global fight on maladies from polio to measles to mental health - as well as Covid-19, at a time when cases have again been rising around the world.
They have also accused him of seeking to deflect attention away from his handling of the coronavirus crisis in the United States.
The US is now the worst-affected country in the world with regards to both Covid-19 cases and fatalities.
"To call Trump’s response to Covid chaotic and incoherent doesn’t do it justice," said Senator Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.
"This won’t protect American lives or interests - it leaves Americans sick and America alone," he wrote on Twitter.