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China to give WHO $30 million more after US freezes funds

China announces it will give another $30 million to the World Health Organization to help in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic, days after Washington said it would freeze funding.

The US, which is the WHO’s biggest contributor, accused the organization last week of “mismanaging” the COVID-19 crisis, drawing ire from Beijing as both countries spar over the deadly virus.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says the new donation would be in addition to a previous $20 million committed, and would help “strengthen developing countries’ health systems.”

He adds that China’s contribution to the UN agency “reflects the support and trust of the Chinese government and people for the WHO.”

In announcing the funding freeze last week, US President Donald Trump accused the WHO of covering up the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak in China before it spread.

He has also charged the WHO with being “very China-centric” despite Washington’s heavy funding.

According to Trump, US taxpayers provided between $400 million and $500 million per year to the WHO, while “in contrast, China contributes roughly $40 million a year and even less.”

Trump also claimed the outbreak could have been contained with “very little death” had the WHO assessed the situation in China accurately.

The deadly virus, which has claimed more than 181,000 lives worldwide, first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, which was locked down in late January to curb the spread.

It continued its global march, however, with cases reported in 193 countries and territories to date, ravaging economies around the globe.

Beijing has urged the US to support WHO-led international action against the pandemic after it halted funding, while observers warned that the US freeze would have consequences for the WHO’s other disease control programmes around the world.

AFP

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