US to halt funding to WHO over coronavirus ‘failure’, says Trump

US to halt funding to WHO over coronavirus 'failure', says Trump
Trump has previously accused the WHO of being biased towards China. Source: BBC
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Daily US Times: President Donald Trump said he instructed his administration to halt funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) for ‘failing in its basic duty’ in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Mr Trump accused the UN body of covering up and mismanaging the spread of the virus after it emerged in China, and added that WHO must be held accountable.

He has previously accused the WHO of being biased towards China.

The US president has himself come under severe criticism at home over his handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

He said in a news conference at the White House: “I am directing my administration to halt funding while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”

He said: “The WHO failed in its basic duty and it must be held accountable.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a response to Trump’s remarks that now was “not the time” to be cutting resources for the WHO.

Last year, United States, the single biggest funder, provided $400m (£316m) – just under 15% of its total budget.

According to WHO website, China’s contribution in 2018-19 was almost $76m in assessed contributions and about $10m in voluntary funding.

The World Health Organization launched an appeal in March for $675m to help fight the pandemic and is reported to be planning a fresh appeal for at least $1bn.

President Trump said: “With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have deep concerns whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible.”

The US is the worst-affected country in the coronavirus pandemic with 25,981 deaths and 608,377 cases so far.

President Trump accused the WHO of having failed to adequately assess the outbreak when it first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

He said: “Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China’s lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death.”

The President claimed WHO would have saved thousands of lives and avoided worldwide economic damage. Instead, ”the WHO willingly took China’s assurances to face value… and defended the actions of the Chinese government.”

President Trump previously praised China’s effort to contain the virus but downplayed the danger of the virus at home.