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Trump threatens to pull US funding to WHO

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

US President Donald Trump has threatened to pull funding to the World Health Organisation permanently if it fails to “commit to major substantive improvements in the next 30 days” and prove its independence from China.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to pull funding to the World Health Organisation permanently if it fails to "commit to major substantive improvements in the next 30 days" and prove its independence from China.

Mr Trump issued the threat in a letter to the WHO director-general in which he accuses the organisation of missteps in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The four-page letter, which is printed on White House letterhead, claims WHO failed to independently investigate credible reports that conflicted directly with the Chinese government's official accounts of the virus.

These include those from sources within the virus epicentre, Wuhan.

Mr Trump's letter, which he posted to Twitter, comes after he temporarily froze US funds to WHO last month.

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"By no later than December 30, 2019, the (WHO) office in Beijing knew that there was a 'major public health' concern in Wuhan," Mr Trump wrote.

"Between December 26 and December 30, China's media highlighted evidence of a new virus emerging from Wuhan, based on patient data sent to multiple Chinese genomic companies… a doctor from Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, told China's health authorities that a new coronavirus was causing a novel disease that was, at the time, afflicting approximately 180 patients."

Mr Trump claims despite Taiwanese authorities informing WHO of possible human-to-human transmission of the virus on or around December 31, the WHO "chose not to share any of this critical information with the rest of the world".

He claims this decision was politically motivated.

"The International Health Regulations require countries to report the risk of a health emergency within 24 hours. But China did not inform (WHO) of Wuhan's several cases of pneumonia, of unknown origin, until December 31, 2019, even though it likely had knowledge of these cases days or weeks earlier," Mr Trump said.

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"The (WHO) has repeatedly made claims about the coronavirus that were either grossly inaccurate or misleading."

Mr Trump also accused the WHO of failing to "press China" for the timely admittance of a WHO team of international medical experts.

He said, as a result, the team did not arrive in China until February 16 this year. He claims the team was also refused immediate access to Wuhan on their visit.

"You also strongly praised China's strict domestic travel restrictions, but were inexplicably against my closing of the United States border, or the ban, with respect to people coming from China," Mr Trump wrote.

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"I put the ban in place regardless of your wishes. Your political gamesmanship on this issue was deadly, as other governments, relying on your comments, delayed imposing life-saving restrictions on travel to and from China.

"By the time you finally declared the virus a pandemic on March 11, 2020, it had killed more than 4000 people and infected more than 100,000 people in at least 114 countries around the world."

Mr Trump claims the "repeated missteps" by WHO in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world.

"The only way forward for (WHO) is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China… Action is needed quickly. We do not have time to waste… I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the (WHO) permanent and reconsider our membership in the organisation," he wrote.

Source: 9News

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