Covid-19: Trump accuses WHO of being 'China-centric', puts hold on funding

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused the World Health Organization (WHO) of becoming China-centric during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and said that he would put a hold on America's funding to it.

"We're going to put a hold on money spent on WHO. It's a great organisation, if it works. But when they call every shot wrong, that's not good," Trump told reporters at his daily White House news conference.

United Nation's health wing Geneva-headquartered WHO, receives vast amounts of money from the United States.

"We pay the majority of their money. They actually criticized and disagreed with my travel ban at the time I did it. They were wrong. They've been wrong about a lot of things. They had a lot of information early and they didn't want to.... they seem to be very China-centric," Trump alleged during his news conference.

The Trump administration is going to look into the US funding to WHO.

"We give a majority of the money that they get, and it's much more than the $58 million. $58 million is a small portion of what they've got over the years. Sometimes they get much more than that for programs that they're doing. If the programs are good, that's great as far as we're concerned," he added.

"But it's time we want to look into WHO because they called the coronavirus scenario wrong. They missed the call. They could've warned about it months earlier. They would have known and they should have known and they probably did know. So, we'll be looking into that very carefully, and we're going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO," Trump said.

Meanwhile, Senator Jim Risch, chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for an independent investigation into the WHO handling of the Covid-19 response.

"The WHO has failed not only the American people, it has failed the world with its flagrant mishandling of the response to COVID-19," said Risch.

"Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus' apparent unwillingness to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable to even the minimum standard of global health and transparency hindered the world's ability to blunt the spread of this pandemic. It is completely unacceptable that the world's global health organization has become a political puppet of the Chinese government," he alleged.

"An independent investigation into the WHO's handling of the COVID-19 response is imperative," he asserted.

"Our valuable taxpayer's dollars should go towards investments to prevent the spread of disease, not to aid and abet cover-ups that cost lives and isolate portions of the world's population on political grounds, as has been the case with Taiwan," Senator Risch said.

A bipartisan group of nearly two dozen lawmakers on Tuesday announced to introduce a resolution to defund the WHO until its Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus resigns and an international commission investigates the organisation's role in covering up the Chinese Communist Party's failed Covid-19 response.

"WHO helped the Chinese govt hide the threat of Covid-19 from the world and now more than 10,000 Americans are dead, a number that is expected to rise dramatically in the coming weeks," Congressman Guy Reschenthaler alleged.

"The United States is the largest contributor to WHO. It is not right that Americans' hard-earned tax dollars are being used to propagate China's lies and hide information that could have saved lives. This bill will hold the WHO accountable for their negligence and deceit," he asserted.

"The United States' intelligence community has reported that the Chinese government hid the threat of Covid-19 and, as a result, made it difficult for the rest of the world to respond early, appropriately and aggressively," said Congressman Fred Keller.

"For reasons beyond our understanding, the World Health Organization acted as a silent partner in this effort instead of protecting the lives of millions across the world, including American citizens. Our hard-earned tax dollars should not go to a global organization more concerned with not offending the Chinese government than providing accurate information and protecting innocent lives," Keller said.



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