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Trump orders halt on WHO funding, review of COVID-19 response

President Donald Trump said the United States will redirect funds and work with other nations on global health issues while continuing to assess WHO. Photo by Stefani Reynolds/UPI
President Donald Trump said the United States will redirect funds and work with other nations on global health issues while continuing to assess WHO. Photo by Stefani Reynolds/UPI | License Photo

April 14 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced he ordered a halt on funding for the World Health Organization while the administration conducts a review of the group's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump, speaking during a briefing by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, accused WHO of "mismanaging and covering up the spread" of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 25,000 people in the United States.

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"As the organization's leading sponsor, the United States has a duty to insist on full accountability," Trump said.

Trump stated the decision was made to hold WHO accountable after he said it failed to adequately obtain, vet and share information about the virus in a "timely and transparent fashion."

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"America and the world have chosen to rely on the WHO for accurate, timely and independent information to make important public health recommendations and decisions," Trump said. "If we cannot trust that this is what we will receive from the WHO, our country will be forced to find other ways to work with other nations to achieve public health goals."

Trump added that the United States will redirect funds and work with other nations on global health issues while continuing to assess WHO.

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"We will continue to engage with the WHO to see if it can make meaningful reforms," he said.

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American Medical Association President Patrice Harris said the association of physicians was "deeply concerned by this decision and its wide-ranging ramifications" and called on Trump to reconsider.

"During the worst public health crisis in a century, halting funding to the World Health Organization is a dangerous step in the wrong direction that will not make defeating COVID-19 easier," Harris said. "Cutting funding to the WHO -- rather than focusing on solutions -- is a dangerous move at a precarious moment for the world."

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U.S. copes with COVID-19 pandemic

Bass Pro Shops marketing manager David Smith (R) carries a box of donated face masks into Mercy Health in Chesterfield, Mo., on May 13. The company is donating 1 million FDA-approved ASTM Level 1 Procedure Face Masks to healthcare workers and first responders working on the front lines of the pandemic. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Trump also announced a plan known as the Dynamic Ventilator Reserve to prepare ventilator capacity for "any and all scenarios" and provide machines to other nations affected by the coronavirus including Italy, France and Spain.

After meeting with healthcare executives on Tuesday, Trump said the public healthcare systems will work with private industry under the Defense Production Act to produce more than 32,000 ventilators by the end of May and 150,000 by the end of the year.

"We're going to have tremendous numbers of ventilators that we're able to help our states with at a later date, if there's ever a problem like this, which we hope to God will never happen again," he said.

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Also Tuesday, the Treasury Department reached a deal with 10 major U.S. airlines including American, Delta and United in which they agreed to participate in the Payroll Support Program.

The program provides billions of dollars in loans to businesses to allow them to keep employees on the payroll as operations are limited or shut down due to the outbreak.

"This agreement will fully support airline industry workers, preserve the vital role airlines play in our economy and protect taxpayers," Trump said.

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