Coronavirus US live: Trump’s decision to cut WHO funding sparks outrage | World news

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UK says it will not halt WHO funding

The Downing Street lobby briefing has just finished. And it has emerged that the UK government is refusing to directly criticise Trump’s decision to freeze funding for the World Health Organisation.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said that the UK would continue to support the WHO, but he declined any invitation to say anything critical about Trump’s stance. Asked for the UK’s response to the president’s move, the spokesman said:

Our position is that the UK has no plans to stop funding the World Health Organisation which has an important role to play in leading the global health response. Coronavirus is a global challenge and it’s essential that countries work together to tackle this shared threat.

When asked if the government was disappointed by Trump’s decision to freeze payments to the WHO, the spokesman said:

I can only set out the UK’s position, and that is that we have no plans to stop funding the World Health Organisation.

By contrast, in an interview with LBC this morning, the new Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was happy to criticise the US president’s decision. Starmer said:

That is completely the wrong thing to do. There needs to be a global response to this, we should be supporting our global institutions. We’re about to go on and try and get a vaccine, there should be a global effort to get that vaccine and a global plan as to how we roll that out across the world. This is not the time to be retreating and pulling away from global organisations that help roll that out.

Follow the Guardian’s UK live blog for the latest from No 10:

Trump’s WHO decision sparks more outrage

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