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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Coronavirus: UK hits back as Trump reduces WHO's funds

The UK hit back at Donald Trump today amid international fury at his decision to halt £400m of funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO).


The US President made the shock announcement last night to temporarily halt around 15% of the WHO's budget in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump said the group had promoted China's "disinformation" about the virus that likely led to a wider outbreak.

He said it wasn't "fair" for the US to contribute roughly $400 million to $500million to the WHO when China had given around 9$42million.


And he said the organisation had "failed in its basic duty and it must be held accountable".

Unlike other countries, Downing Street's response carefully avoided directly criticising the President or White House.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson's official spokesman today repeatedly stressed the UK had no plans to stop funding the WHO - and warned it was "essential" to work together internationally.

The spokesman said: "Our position is that the UK has no plans to stop funding the WHO, which has an important role to play leading the global health response.

"Coronavirus is a global challenge and it’s essential countries work together to tackle this shared threat.”

Asked if the UK was disappointed by President Trump's announcement, Boris Johnson's spokesman said: "I can only set out the UK’s position and that is that we have no plans to stop funding the WHO.

Downing Street suggested Britain would not need to plug the funding gap but did not rule it out.

The spokesman said: "In terms of how we contribute to the WHO, that is used on our assessment of the organisations needs and we continue to keep this under review. It’s not something that’s affected by other countries’ decisions on funding."

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