The United States President, Donald Trump, has announced the suspension of funding to the World Health Organisation, claiming the agency had covered up the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak in China allowing it to spread around the world.
Mr Trump on Tuesday at a press conference said he has instructed his administration to halt funding while “a review is conducted to assess the WHO’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”
Mr Trump had accused the WHO of wasting “tremendous amounts of time” in its coronavirus response.
While Mr Trump blamed the international health agency for the pandemic, reports show that he also ignored warnings from his own intelligence agencies of the virus’s severity.
The president had six days ago threatened to suspend the U.S. funding for the agency while expressing grievances with its handling of the novel coronavirus.
“They missed the call. They could have called it months earlier. They would have known, and they should have known, and they probably did know,” he had earlier said.
According to Mr Trump, WHO prevented transparency over the outbreak. The United States is the largest contributor to the UN body – provided $400 million last year — and will now “discuss what to do with all that money that goes to the WHO.”
“With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have deep concerns whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible,” Mr Trump added.
Rising cases and deaths toll
Meanwhile, the U.S. has now topped the chart of the countries with the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally.
As at 23:03 GMT Tuesday, about 2,284 coronavirus-related deaths were reported, according to worldometers.info, bringing U.S. deaths from the outbreak to 25,924.
More than 610,000 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the U.S., according to worldometers.info.
New York City, which has emerged as the global epicentre for the virus, increased its death toll by an additional 3,700 people who were previously not included in those figures.
The city’s new tally has climbed to more than 10,000, edging the U.S. count to 26,000.
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