The government of the United States has suspended its funding of the World Health Organisation.
President Donald Trump told journalists on Tuesday that the organisation “failed in its basic duty”.
“Today 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 during a White House press briefing.
“American taxpayers provide between $400 million and $500 million per year to the WHO and in contrast, China contributes $40 million a year or even less.
“As the organisation’s leading sponsor, the United States has a duty to insist on full accountability. One of the most dangerous and costly decisions from the WHO was its disastrous decision to oppose travel restrictions from China and other nations.
“The WHO failed in its basic duty and must be held accountable.
“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,” he told reporters.
“This 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.
“With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have deep concerns whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible.”
It is not clear if Trump can unilaterally withhold contributions to the WHO.
The US president has been criticised for the nation’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and some governors have disagreed with his plans to reopen the economy.
In a January 24 tweet, Trump had commended the Chinese government for its transparency and efforts to contain the virus.
However, on April 7, Trump said every aspect of the WHO’s response to the pandemic was wrong.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, warned countries against politicising the virus saying: “No need to use COVID to score political points. No need. You have many other ways to prove yourselves”.
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