Germany on Wednesday criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for halting funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) in the middle of the worst pandemic in decades. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter that the accusations against the WHO were “not helpful” at a time the world needed closer international cooperation to combat the novel coronavirus. "The virus knows no borders. We have to closely work together against #COVID19," he stressed, and called for steps to further strengthen the UN and the WHO. Germany’s top diplomat said the WHO has already been suffering from underfunding, and suggested that one of the best investments in the fight against COVID-19 would be providing more support to the organization, especially for the development and distribution of tests and a vaccine.
The U.S. president announced on Tuesday that the he was going to halt funding to the WHO, accusing the organization of "severely mismanaging and covering up" the spread of the coronavirus. He said American taxpayers provide between $400-$500 million per year to the organization whereas China gives only $40 million. "As the organization's leading sponsor, the United States has a duty to insist on full accountability," he said. Since the virus emerged in China last December, it has spread to at least 185 countries and regions. There are nearly 1.99 million confirmed infections globally with over 127,500 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Almost 495,000 have recovered.