President Donald Trump has threatened to put a “very powerful” hold on US’ funding to the World Health Organization, accusing the UN agency of being “very China centric” and criticising it for having “missed the call” in its response to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump slammed the global health agency for its early guidance aimed at countering the international spread of the coronavirus. “We’re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO. We’re going to put a very powerful hold on it and we’re going to see. It’s a great thing if it works. But when they call every shot wrong, that’s no good,” Trump told reporters at his daily White House news conference on Tuesday. The Geneva-headquartered World Health Organization (WHO), receives vast amounts of money from the United States. “We pay for a majority or the biggest portion of their money. They actually criticized and disagreed with my travel ban at the time I did it. They were wrong. They’ve been wrong about a lot of things. They had a lot of information early and they didn’t want to – they’re very – they seem to be very China centric,” Trump said. The president said his administration was going to look into the US funding to the WHO. “We give a majority of the money that they get, and it’s much more than the USD 58 million. USD 58 million is a small portion of what they’ve got over the years. Sometimes they get much more than that. Sometimes it’s for programs that they’re doing, and-it’s much bigger numbers. If the programmes are good, that’s great as far as we’re concerned,” he said. “But we want to look into it, WHO, because they called it wrong. They (WHO) called it wrong. They missed the call. They could’ve called it months earlier. They would have known and they should have known and they probably did know. So, we’ll be looking into that very carefully, and we’re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO,” Trump said. Meanwhile, Senator Jim Risch, chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for an independent investigation into the WHO’s handling of the COVID-19 response.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was spending a second night in intensive care battling the coronavirus which has infected more than 55,000 across the country and killed nearly 6,200. “He stayed at work for you… now pray at home for him,” The Sun tabloid splashed across its front page Wednesday while the Daily Express said: “Boris ‘will pull through’.” Deputising for Johnson, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he was “confident he’ll pull through, because if there’s one thing I know about this prime minister, he’s a fighter and he’ll be back, leading us through this crisis in short order”. In an update Tuesday evening, the prime minister’s spokesman said his “condition is stable and he remains in intensive care for close monitoring.” He earlier said the 55-year-old Conservative leader was receiving “standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance” and had not required a ventilator. Johnson is the most high-profile government leader to become infected with COVID-19 and messages of support flooded in from across Britain and the world. He was admitted to intensive care on Monday evening after spending Sunday night in hospital following concerns he still had a cough and high temperature 10 days after being diagnosed with COVID-19. His transfer to intensive care is unprecedented for a prime minister during a national emergency. For many people, it brought home the seriousness of the disease that has so far seen 6,159 deaths in Britain, with a record 786 more reported in a daily update on Tuesday. Despite the record daily death toll, there was more encouraging news with the number of new daily cases remaining at a roughly stable 3,643. In a round of broadcast interviews, senior minister Michael Gove insisted the “work of government goes on”.
Four new coronavirus cases were detected in Gujarat on Wednesday, taking the total number of such cases in the state to 179, a health official said. Two of the new cases were reported from Bhavnagar and one each was reported from Surat and Vadodara, Principal Secretary (Health) Jayanti Ravi told reporters. Of the total 179 cases, 83 have been reported from Ahmedabad, she said. So far, 16 patients have died in the state and 25 discharged after recovery, the official said. Out of 138 active cases, two patients are on ventilator support and their condition is critical, she said. “It is a conscious decision to carry out intensive testing in cluster areas. We conducted 932 tests in the last 24 hours, of which 14 have come out positive, and results of 231 are expected today,” she added.