April 23, 2020 / 8:58 AM / a month ago

China pledges $30 million more for WHO's coronavirus fight

FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured outside a building of the World Health Organization (WHO) during an executive board meeting on update on the coronavirus outbreak, in Geneva, Switzerland, February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Thursday it would donate a further $30 million to the World Health Organization (WHO), which is seeking more than $1 billion to fund its battle against the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 180,000 people worldwide.

The pledge comes about a week after U.S. President Donald Trump suspended funding to the WHO and accused the Geneva-based organisation of promoting Chinese “disinformation” about the virus, which emerged in the central city of Wuhan last year.

“At this crucial moment, supporting WHO is supporting multilateralism and global solidarity,” Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman of China’s foreign ministry, said on Twitter.

The donation aimed to support the global fight against COVID-19, in particular strengthening health systems in developing countries, she said, adding that China had already donated $20 million to the WHO on March 11.

On Wednesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he hoped the Trump administration would reconsider its decision.

“I hope the U.S. believes that this an important investment, not just to help others, but for the U.S. to stay safe also,” Tedros said during a virtual briefing.

The United States contributed more than $400 million to the WHO in 2019, or roughly 15% of the organisation’s budget.

(Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.)

Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Alison Williams and Clarence Fernandez

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