Coronavirus: Donald Trump makes stunning WHO decision amid pandemic

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·3-min read

US President Donald Trump has pulled funding from the World Health Organisation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“So much death has been caused by their mistakes,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday (local time).

Mr Trump has ordered a review after accusing WHO of “severely mismanaging and covering up” the spread of COVID-19.

Donald Trump, the US president, has pulled his country's funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Donald Trump has pulled US funding to WHO. Source: C-SPAN

The amount being withheld from WHO sits at more than US$400 million ($621 million) annually, NBC reported.

Earlier on Tuesday, WHO spokeswoman Dr Margaret Harris tried to ease the tension between the US and WHO, noting the country was the largest donor and had been a “fantastic partner”.

“There will always be criticisms of organisations, it’s important to listen criticism especially constructive criticism,” she said.

She did however stress WHO’s work “will go on regardless of any kind of issues.”

Hours later, Mr Trump withdrew the US’s funding, stating: “Those tasked with protecting us by being truthful and transparent failed to do so.”

Mr Trump has repeatedly attacked WHO in recent weeks, suggesting it is too “China-centric” amid the outbreak.

"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 said.

Mr Trump said WHO had ignored "credible information" as early as December 2019 that the virus could be transmitted from human to human and contributed to China’s push to suppress news on the virus’s outbreak.

On January 14, WHO said in a statement China had “no clear evidence” of human-to-human transmission.

Mr Trump suggested China’s contribution to WHO was roughly 10 per cent of what the US gives annually.

"We have deep concerns over whether America's generosity has been put to the best use possible," he said.

Mr Trump also questioned WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s insistence in early February that countries should not “unnecessarily” close their borders to China – a move Australia made at the start of February.

Trump accused of deflecting from own handling of coronavirus

His latest bold move has fuelled suggestion Mr Trump is attempting to deflect from his own handling of the outbreak in the US which has claimed the lives of more than 25,000 people across the nation.

"Right now, there is a very coordinated effort amongst the White House, and their allies to try to find scapegoats for the fatal mistakes that the President made during the early stages of this virus,” Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said.

In response to Mr Trump’s announcement, the Democratic National Committee’s Deputy War Room Director Daniel Wessel said the president is “willing to put global health further at risk to try to deflect blame from his own failures”.

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