Trump cuts WHO funding for coronavirus and global death toll

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WASHINGTON / SYDNEY (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday suspended funding to the World Health Organization for its management of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to the conviction of infectious disease experts as the global death toll continues to increase.

Trump, who reacted angrily to criticism of his administration’s response to the worst epidemic in a century, has become increasingly hostile to WHO.

The Geneva-based organization has encouraged China’s “disinformation” about the virus which has likely led to a larger epidemic than would have happened otherwise, said Trump.

“WHO has failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable,” Trump said at a White House press conference on Tuesday.

According to a Reuters report, nearly 2 million people worldwide have been infected and more than 124,000 have died since the onset of the disease in China late last year.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said now is not the time to cut WHO’s resources.

“Now is the time for unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its devastating consequences,” he said in a statement.

The United States is WHO’s largest global donor, contributing more than $ 400 million in 2019, about 15% of its budget.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he sympathized with Trump’s criticism of the WHO, in particular his “unfathomable” support for the reopening of China’s “wet markets” where freshly slaughtered animals are sold and where the coronavirus first appeared in Wuhan at the end of last year. year.

“But having said that, WHO, as an organization, is also doing important work, including in our Pacific region, and we are working closely with them,” Morrison told Australian radio station on Wednesday.

“We are not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater here, but neither are they immune to criticism and immune to doing better.”

More than 2,200 people died in the United States alone on Tuesday, a record number according to a Reuters count, even as the country has debated how to reopen its economy.

New York City, the U.S. city hardest hit by the pandemic, revised its death toll to more than 10,000 on Tuesday, to include those believed to be dead but never tested for lung disease.

US health care advocate Protect Our Care said that the withdrawal of WHO funding for Trump was “a transparent attempt by President Trump to distract from his story minimizing the severity of the coronavirus crisis and the failure of his administration to prepare our nation. “

“While the World Health Organization is not without fault, it is beyond the responsibility to cut funding at the height of a global pandemic,” said Leslie Dach, president of Protect Our. Care.

“DON’T SEE THE POINT STILL”

After weeks of foreclosure in several European countries, WHO has said that the number of new cases is decreasing in some regions, such as Italy and Spain, but that epidemics are increasing in Britain and Turkey.

“The global epidemic – 90% of the cases come from Europe and the United States of America. So we certainly don’t see the peak yet, “said WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris during a briefing in Geneva.

India has extended the lockout of its 1.3 billion people until at least May 3 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that economic sacrifices are needed to save lives as the number of coronavirus cases exceeds 10 000.

New cases in mainland China fell to 46 from 89 the previous day, Chinese health officials reported on Wednesday, with another death. Most of the cases were from overseas travelers returning from Russia.

Asian equity markets advanced slightly, as China again acted to dampen its economy, lowering average medium-to-term interest rates to record levels and paving the way for a similar reduction in benchmark lending rates. [MKTS/GLOB]

HEALTH / ECONOMY BALANCE

The global economy is expected to contract 3% this year, the International Monetary Fund said, marking the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Trump, who has said he will decide when to lift the US blockades, has suggested that some governors of the democratic states are “mutineers” after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would refuse any orders likely to reignite. the epidemic.

Trump’s top infectious disease adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said the president’s May 1 goal to revive the economy was “too optimistic.”

Airlines were the hardest hit by the border closures and citizens were asked to stay at home to slow the spread.

Chinese airlines have reported a total loss of $ 4.8 billion in the first quarter, the national aviation regulator said.

The US Department of the Treasury has said that major passenger airlines have agreed in principle to a $ 25 billion bailout, ensuring that airline workers have jobs until October while the industry fights against it. biggest crisis.

In New Zealand, where a strict lock-in has limited the number of cases and deaths, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that she, her ministers and heads of the public service will benefit from a 20% pay cut for the next six months given the economic impact of the pandemic coronavirus.

(GRAPHIC- Tracker focused on the world with interactive country by country: https: /) / graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/COUNTRIES/oakveqlyvrd/index.html?id=united-kingdom)

President Donald Trump attends the daily briefing of the coronavirus task force at the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, USA on April 14, 2020. REUTERS / Leah Millis

(GRAPHIC-Tracking the novel coronavirus in the U.S .: here)

(Open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in a separate browser for an interactive graphic to track the global spread.)

Reports from Reuters offices around the world; Written by Lincoln Feast; Edited by

Our standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.

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