US President Donald Trump last night attacked the World Health Organisation for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak and halted its funding.
Trump has become increasingly hostile the the WHO amid criticism of his administration’s coroanvirus response.
The US President said the WHO has spread China’s “disinformation” about coronavirus which lead to a wider outbreak than would otherwise occur.
“The WHO failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable,” Trump told a White House news conference last night.
Nearly 2m people globally have been infected and more than 124,000 have died since the disease emerged in China late last year, according to figures from Reuters.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it was not the time to reduce resources for the WHO.
“Now is the time for unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences,” he said in a statement.
The United States is the biggest overall donor to the WHO, contributing more than $400m (£318m) in 2019, roughly 15 per cent of its budget.
The US has suffered more than 25,000 coronavirus deaths, according to a Reuters tally.
US health care advocacy group Protect Our Care said Trump’s WHO funding withdrawal was “a transparent attempt by President Trump to distract from his history downplaying the severity of the coronavirus crisis and his administration’s failure to prepare our nation,”
“To be sure, the World Health Organisation is not without fault but it is beyond irresponsible to cut its funding at the height of a global pandemic,” said Leslie Dach, the chair of Protect Our Care.