US President Donald Trump on Friday said he was severing ties with the World Health Organization , signalling the end of hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to the UN agency as the deadly coronavirus pandemic rages on .
As Europe speeded along the path to reopening after months of crippling lockdowns , Trump ’s move is likely to spark dismay, especially in other parts of the world where the outbreak has yet to reach its peak .
Russia recorded a record number of deaths on Friday and several nations in Latin America are bracing for difficult weeks ahead , especially Brazil , where the toll has soared.
Last month, Trump suspended funding to the WHO , accusing it of not doing enough to curb the initial spread of the novel coronavirus and being too lenient with China , where the global outbreak began last year .
On Friday , he made that decision permanent — a dire one for the UN agency ’s finances as the United States is by far its biggest contributor , having given $ 400 million last year .
“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization ,” Trump told reporters .
The Republican leader said the US would be redirecting funds previously allocated to the WHO “ to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs .”
“The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency,” Trump said .
Beijing has furiously denied the US allegations that it played down the threat when the virus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and insisted it has been forthcoming .
So far , the pandemic has claimed more than 362 ,000 lives and hammered the global economy .
Populations are learning to adjust to life with the long -term threat of infection as the virus continues its march around the globe — with more than 5 .8 million cases — and a vaccine remains elusive .