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The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries are calling for a “thorough review and reform process” for the World Health Organization (WHO), the White House said Thursday — two days after President Trump announced he was halting funding to the embattled organization.
The announcement came from a readout from the White House after a videoconference meeting between the leaders, chaired by Trump.
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE
“The leaders recognized that the G7 nations annually contribute more than a billion dollars to the World Health Organization (WHO), and much of the conversation centered on the lack of transparency and chronic mismanagement of the pandemic by the WHO,” the White House statement said. “The leaders called for a thorough review and reform process.”
The announcement comes after significant pressure on the U.N. agency across the globe, but led by the U.S., which cut funding this week.
Trump said Tuesday that the United States would undertake a 60-to-90 day investigation into why the “China-centric” WHO had caused “so much death” by “severely mismanaging and covering up” the coronavirus’ spread, including by making the “disastrous” decision to oppose travel restrictions on China.
The United States is the WHO’s largest single donor, and the State Department had previously planned to provide the agency $893 million in the current two-year funding period. Trump said the United States contributes roughly $400 to $500 million per year to WHO, while China offers only about $40 million.
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“We have deep concerns over whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible,” Trump said.
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The WHO response to the pandemic has come under heavy scrutiny as the coronavirus has ravaged countries across the globe. In particular, statements by WHO officials praising China’s response and repeating talking points, including that the virus could not be spread person-to-person, have amped up calls to defund the U.N. agency.
The G7 announcement comes a day after Fox News first reported that there is increasing confidence in the U.S. government that the COVID-19 outbreak likely originated in a Wuhan laboratory, though not as a bioweapon but as part of China’s attempt to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States.
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Additionally, the sources tell Fox News the World Health Organization (WHO) was complicit from the beginning in helping China cover its tracks.
Fox News’ Kellianne Jones, Bret Baier and Gregg Re contributed to this report.