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Trump Announces Order to Halt WHO Funding Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

© REUTERS / JONATHAN ERNSTU.S. President Donald Trump arrives with Vice President Mike Pence to lead the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 9, 2020
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives with Vice President Mike Pence to lead the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 9, 2020 - Sputnik International
US President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday he was pulling funding for the World Health Organization while his administration conducted an investigation of the UN agency, claiming it had impeded the US response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Since its establishment the American people have generously supported the World Health Organization …. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic we have deep concerns," Trump said.

Trump claimed during the White House press conference Tuesday that the WHO "parroted" false claims about the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, such as that it was not communicable, and failed to report accurately on the virus as it emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in January 2020.

Trump held the WHO responsible for the economic chaos and thousands of deaths caused by the pandemic.

"The WHO's reliance on China's disclosures likely caused a twentyfold increase in cases worldwide," Trump claimed, "and it may be much more than that."

"Had the WHO done its job …. the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death … this would have saved thousands of lives," Trump said. "So much death has been caused by their mistakes."

"Maybe they'll reform and maybe they won't," Trump said, noting he would insist on "full accountability" for the agency's failings.

He said the "very thorough" investigation period would last 60 to 90 days.

Trump has raged against the WHO for weeks, warning as early as April 7 that the agency might lose its largest single funder, the United States, as he would hold it responsible for being supposedly "China-centric."

Ventilator Production Ramps Up

Trump further noted the US aims to have accumulated a 200,000-unit stockpile of ventilators by the end of 2020 and announced a Dynamic Ventilator Reserve (DVR) program in partnership with hospitals and health care companies to "maximize our oversupply."

US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) CEO Adam Boehler told reporters outside the White House that by the end of June, more than 100,000 new ventilators would be delivered by US manufacturers. He also noted that the DVR would facilitate the sharing of ventilators between hospitals and health systems, with more than 200 partners joining in the last week.

Reopening the US

Trump told reporters he would be coordinating with US state governors to end the national social and economic shutdowns by the end of the month.

"The plans to reopen country are close to being finalized," Trump said. "The day will be very close, maybe even before the day of May 1." He noted that "over 20" are "in good shape" and might reopen before other states.

"If we're unhappy with a state, we're going to let them know we're unhappy, and if they're not doing the job and can't get the job done ... we'll have to do something that's very serious, we'll have to maybe close them up and start all over again," he said. "But I don't think we're going to have to do that."

The president also opined that "we have to get our sports back. I'm tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old."

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