Coronavirus: China gives World Health Organisation cash injection after US pulls funding
Friday - 24/04/2020 15:04
China is set to boost the World Health Organisation’s coffers to help in the global fight against coronavirus, but some are asking if the move was retaliation.
China has announced it will give another $47 million to the World Health Organisation (WHO) to help in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic, coming just days after Washington said it would freeze US funding.
On Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the $47 million donation would be in addition to a previous $31 million committed, and would help “strengthen developing countries’ health systems”.
He added that China’s contribution to the UN agency “reflects the support and trust of the Chinese Government and people for the WHO”.
The deadly virus, which has claimed more than 190,000 lives worldwide, first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, which was locked down in late January to curb the spread.
It ripped throughout the world, 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 organisation’s other disease control programs around the world.
CHINA DEFENDS WHO
China has denied Western suggestions that it covered up the extent of the virus outbreak, rejecting claims it has an overly cosy relationship with WHO as well.
But local authorities did silence doctors who tried to raise the alarm about the virus in Wuhan in December.
An investigation determined that police “inappropriately” punished one of the whistleblowers, Li Wenliang, an eye doctor who later died of the COVID-19 disease.
WHO and its director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has been accused by Washington of uncritically accepting China’s early assertions that the virus was not spread between humans, and of wrongly praising Beijing’s “transparency” over the magnitude of the crisis.
The pandemic, combined with the threat of a halt in US funding, marks the biggest challenge to date in Dr Tedros’s near three-year tenure.
“Supporting the WHO at this critical time in the global fight against the epidemic is defending the ideals and principles of multilateralism and upholding the status and authority of the United Nations,” Mr Geng said.
Source - World Health Organization, Johns Hopkins, other media
Mr Trump said a decision on resuming funding would be made after a government investigation into WHO’s response to the coronavirus outbreak in China, which he said would take 60 to 90 days.
Even if a review calls for the health authority to receive funding, Mr Trump may legally be able to redirect the money to other foreign organisations.
The US is the country worst-hit by the coronavirus. It currently has over 887,000 confirmed cases, with a death toll of more than 50,000.