15 Apr 2020
Donald Trump stops WHO funding for 'covering up coronavirus spread'
Not long ago, the United States President Donald Trump said he was upset with how the World Health Organization handled the coronavirus pandemic.
He said the United Nations body was biased towards China and claimed proactive steps weren't taken, which brought the world to where it stands now.
And now, going a step further, Trump has halted funding of WHO.
Here's what happened.
Pandemic emerged in China, now US is the worst-hit nation
In December 2019, China reported that it was dealing with an unknown pneumonia-like disease, which later became known as the deadly COVID-19.
The virus, that transmits through humans, soon spread across the world, with Chinese citizens being the primary carrier.
So far, the death toll across the world stands at 126,604, and the US is worst-affected with 26,047 deaths. 613,886 have been infected there.
Trump was accused of not taking the crisis seriously
In his country, Trump, who is seeking re-election in November, was berated for downplaying the crisis. He was accused of ignoring the advice of people from his own administration on the severity of the situation.
On February 25, he had tweeted that the situation was in control in the US while adding that "CDC and World Health have been working hard and very smart".
Trump, slammed for handling COVID-19 poorly, blamed WHO
Recent polls have shown that more Americans disapprove of the way Trump handled the entire situation. As he faced a barrage of criticism, Trump seemed to look for a scapegoat in WHO.
He said the Geneva-based body spread "false information" and the fact that it relied only on Chinese data caused a 20-fold increase in cases globally.
"WHO must be held accountable," he added.
Directing administration to halt WHO funding: Trump
"I am directing my administration to halt funding while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization's role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus," he announced at a press meet at the White House.
US gave a whopping $400 million to WHO in 2019
US is WHO's single-biggest funder and in 2019 it had given $400 million, just a little less than 15% of the total budget of the UN body, reports BBC.
In 2018-19, China gave $76 million in assessed contributions and some $10 million in voluntary funds.
Reacting to Trump's remarks, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said now wasn't the time to freeze resources.
Trump reminded he imposed travel restrictions defying WHO's suggestions
To prove that the US has the best shot to fight against the virus with him at the helm, Trump repeatedly pointed towards the travel restrictions that were imposed on January 31. The world body had deemed the move unnecessary back then.
Though Trump claims he saved thousands of lives, he hasn't answered why he declared a national emergency only on March 13.
Meanwhile, Pelosi called Trump a weak leader and liar
Around the same time that Trump addressed media, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a scathing attack on him questioning his approach towards the pandemic.
In a letter addressed to House Democrats, she said Trump caused "unnecessary deaths and economic disaster" and called him a weak leader.
She said the country faces a dearth of tests and medical equipment necessary for fighting this pandemic.