On Tuesday US President Donald Trump cut funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO) because of its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, condemning infectious disease experts as the global death toll rises. Trump, who angrily responded to criticism of his administration's response to the worst pandemic of this century, has increasingly become hostile to the WHO.
Trump said the Geneva-based organisation encouraged China to "mislead" the public about the virus, which is likely to result in a wider spread than would have occurred. "The World Health Organisation has failed to fulfil this basic duty and must be held accountable," Trump said at a White House news conference yesterday.
According to Reuters statistics, nearly two million people have been infected worldwide, and more than 124,000 people have died since the disease appeared in China late last year.
For his part, the Secretary-General of the United Nations said that the time is not right to reduce the resources of the WHO stating: "It is time for unity and the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its devastating consequences."
The United States is the largest public donor of the WHO, contributing more than
$400 million in 2019, nearly 15% of its budget.
More than 2,200 people died in the United States on Tuesday, a record high.
The WHO said the number of new cases is declining in some places, such as Italy and Spain, but the outbreak is increasing in Britain and Turkey. Ninety percent of cases come from Europe and the USA. "We certainly have not seen the climax yet," WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a news conference in Geneva.