US President Donald Trump stunned world leaders as he announced he was halting funding to the World Health Organization, in the middle of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Nearly 2 million people globally have been infected and more than 127,000 have died of the coronavirus.
“The WHO failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable,” Trump told a White House news conference on Tuesday.
He said the health organization had promoted China’s “disinformation” about the virus that likely led to a wider outbreak.
Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, which is the WHO’s parent organization, said it was not the time to reduce resources for the WHO.
“Now is the time for unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences,” he said in a statement.
The United States is the biggest overall donor to the WHO, contributing more than $400 million in 2019, roughly 15% of its budget.