China will provide $2 billion over two years to fight the coronavirus pandemic and the economic fallout from it, President Xi Jinping said Monday, rallying around the World Health Organization even as the United States has slashed funding for the UN health agency. The $2 billion over the next two years will support COVID-19 response efforts, including economic and social development, particularly in developing countries, Xi said. In a speech to the World Health Assembly, Xi said China had provided all relevant outbreak data to WHO and other countries, including the virus's genetic sequence, "in a most timely fashion," per the AP. "We have shared control and treatment experience with the world without reservation," Xi said. President Trump is among critics who disagree.
The EU's 27-member bloc and other nations are calling for an independent probe of WHO's initial response to the coronavirus pandemic. During the first few months of the outbreak, WHO officials repeatedly described the virus's spread as "limited" and said it wasn't as transmissible as the flu; experts have since said COVID-19 spreads even faster. It declared the outbreak to be a pandemic on March 11, after the virus had killed thousands globally. Trump has repeatedly attacked WHO, claiming it helped China conceal the extent of the pandemic in its early stages. In his address to the assembly, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus emphasized WHO declared the virus outbreak to be a global health emergency on Jan. 30, at a time when there were fewer than 100 cases outside of China.
(Read more China