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Donald Trump has carried through with his threat to end US funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO), depriving the body of $500m (£399m) per year at the height of the global coronavirus pandemic, blaming the body for “covering up” the outbreak in its early stages without offering any evidence for his contention.
He contended on Tuesday that the US is a "developing nation" and complained about "unfair" treatment from the organisation after accusing its officials of "knowing exactly what was going on" as the outbreak developed. His remarks this week follow several reports illustrating his failure to heed multiple warnings over several weeks to prepare for the virus, which analysts predict cost thousands of lives.
The president's decision to suspend WHO funding has drawn considerable criticism, with the UN, EU and the American Medical Association all expressing outrage and one professor describing the gambit as “one of the least productive, most short-sighted, self-motivated and hypocritical acts I have ever witnessed”.
In response, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that "now is the time for us to be united against a common struggle, a common enemy."
"When we're divided, the virus exploits the cracks between us," he said.
The president, eager and impatient to "re-open" the economy, will being announcing plans for some states to phase out their quarantine efforts, as the US death toll from Covid-19 reaches nearly 28,000 lives, following Tuesday’s single-day rise of 2,082, setting a grim new record with the US reporting than three times as many cases of the virus as any other.
Vice President Mike Pence said the new guidance will offer some states "greater flexibility" as the US looks to relax its quarantine efforts to resume business as usual.
Meanwhile, the president made an unprecedented threat to adjourn the US Senate and Congress, blaming Democrats as he grows frustrated waiting for approval for his administrative appointments.
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