Coronavirus: Trump gives WHO ultimatum over Covid-19 handling

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Coronavirus: Trump provides WHO ultimatum over Covid-19 handling

US President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable in the State Dining Room Picture copyright Getty Pictures
Picture caption Mr Trump accuses the UN company of having an "alarming lack of independence" from China.

US President Donald Trump has despatched a letter to the top of the World Health Group (WHO) threatening to tug US funding completely over Covid-19.

The letter outlines a 30-day deadline for the body to commit to "substantive enhancements" or danger dropping hundreds of thousands and US membership altogether.

Addressed to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, it criticises levels of the body's response since December.

Earlier in the day, Mr Trump referred to as the UN's well being body a "puppet of China".

The president, who faces re-election this yr and has himself been criticised for his dealing with of the pandemic, has blamed China for making an attempt to cover up the outbreak and has accused the WHO of failing to hold Beijing to account.

The US has more than 1.5 million of the world's four.eight million confirmed instances of coronavirus up to now, with greater than 90,000 deaths.

Mr Trump's ultimatum also comes at a time of strain for the WHO.

On Monday Dr Tedros backed a evaluation of the company's handling of the pandemic. He stated an unbiased evaluation would take place "on the earliest applicable second".

What does the letter say?

Mr Trump revealed the letter on Twitter on Monday night time, following a day of heavy US criticism of the health company.

US Health Secretary Alex Azar earlier spoke on the UN's World Health Meeting and accused the WHO of letting Covid-19 spin "uncontrolled" at the price of "many lives".

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Media captionUS Health Secretary Alex Azar: WHO failure to acquire info 'value many lives'

In his letter to Dr Tedros, the US president accuses the WHO of having an "alarming lack of independence" from China.

Among his assertions, Mr Trump accuses the agency of having "persistently ignored" what he describes as "credible reviews" of the virus spreading in Wuhan firstly of December or even earlier.

Also in the letter, Mr Trump:

  • Cites studies the WHO delayed an emergency declaration beneath strain from President Xi Jinping
  • Criticises the company's reward of China's "transparency" amid reviews of censorship and lack of international cooperation
  • Accuses the WHO of failing to touch upon virus-related racial discrimination allegedly occurring inside China
  • Says Dr Tedros might have saved "many lives" if he had acted extra like Dr Harlem Brundtland, the WHO chief in the course of the Sars outbreak

Mr Trump, in his conclusion, alleges that "repeated missteps" by Dr Tedros and the WHO had been "extremely pricey for the world".

"The only approach forward for the World Well being Organization is that if it may truly show independence from China," his letter says.

Mr Trump then calls for the organisation to commit to "major substantive improvements" inside 30 days, with out clarifying what this means.

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Media captionMr Trump has repeatedly criticised China's early handling of the outbreak

Without these modifications, the president says, the US will make his momentary freeze of US funding everlasting and "rethink our membership within the organisation" altogether.

Mr Trump announced the halting of US payments last month. The nation is among the largest contributors to the WHO, accounting for simply less than 15% of its funding prior to now monetary yr.

The ultimatum letter comes within the midst of the UN's World Health Assembly - an annual assembly involving 194 member states reviewing the work of the UN's well being company.

Thus far the virtual discussion board has been dominated by health leaders clashing over the WHO's position, in addition to pushes for an inquiry into how they handled the pandemic.

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