Trump threatens to permanently halt WHO funding

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has threatened to permanently halt funding for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and withdraw the United States from the UN health agency unless there are substantive improvements in the next thirty days.
Trump has said he is going to halt funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) because it has failed in its basic duty in response to the coronavirus outbreak. He accused the UN agency of mismanaging and covering up the spread of the virus after it emerged in China, adding that it must be held accountable.
Earlier on Monday, Trump attacked the WHO as a “puppet of China”. The president froze US funding for the WHO in April. The UN’s chief said it was not the time to cut funds to the WHO.
Trump has been under fire for his own handling of the pandemic. He has sought to deflect criticism that he acted too slow to stop the spread of the virus regarding his decision in late January to place restrictions on travel from China.
He has accused the WHO of having criticised that decision and of being biased towards China more generally. “I am directing my administration to halt funding while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organisation’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus,” Trump told a news conference at the White House.

The US is the global health body’s largest single funder and gave it more than $400m in 2019. A decision on whether the US resumes funding will be made after the review which could last 60 to 90 days.
The WHO has not directly responded but UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the international community should be uniting in solidarity to stop this virus. “It is my belief that the World Health Organisation must be supported, as it is absolutely critical to the world’s efforts to win the war against COVID-19,” he said.
The WHO launched an appeal in March for $675m to help fight the coronavirus pandemic and is reported to be planning a fresh appeal for at least $1bn. Bill Gates has said that halting funding for the WHO during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds.
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