Photo: Associated Press

President Donald Trump says he has directed a halt to US payments to the World Health Organisation pending a review of its warnings about coronavirus and China.

President Trump says the outbreak could have been contained at its source and spared lives had the UN health agency done a better job investigating reports coming out of China.

The president says the world depends on the World Health Organisation to work with countries to make sure accurate information about health threats are shared in a timely manner.

President Trump claims the organisation failed to carry out its “basic duty” and must be held accountable.

But the president says the US will continue to engage with the organisation in pursuit of what he calls meaningful reforms.

Trump has previously accused the WHO of being biased towards China.

The US president has himself come under criticism at home over his handling of the outbreak.

“I am directing my administration to halt funding while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus,” Trump told a news conference at the White House.

“The WHO failed in its basic duty and it must be held accountable,” he added.

America is the WHO’s biggest single funder, providing $400m last year – just under 15% of its total budget.

“With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have deep concerns whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible,” the president said.

The US is the epicentre of the pandemic with 592,743 cases and 25,239 deaths.

SOURCE: Associated Press AND AGENCIES

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