April 8, 2020
The United States suffered a record total of nearly 2,000 Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours yesterday, which pushed its toll to more than 12,800.
The country has so far recorded nearly 400,000 Covid-19 cases, which is the most in the world.
An angry President Donald Trump threatened to cut US funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), accusing it of bias toward China, which where the pandemic started late last year.
Speaking in Washington yesterday, Trump said he was “going to put a very powerful hold” on funding to the WHO, the UN body whose biggest contributor is the US.
“They called it wrong,” he said of a WHO travel warning on China. “They could have called it months earlier.”
Trump gave no details about how much money would be withheld but he did say he would “look at ending funding.”
China has been criticised over the way it handled the initial virus outbreak and many have expressed doubt over the accuracy of its Covid-19 statistics.
Its official tally is some 81,000 overall infections and more than 3,300 deaths but there are suspicions Beijing has under-reported the real numbers.
The country yesterday reported no new deaths and the authorities lifted a two-and-a-half month travel ban on Wuhan, the city that spawned the pandemic.
Train service and flights resumed and roadblocks were removed, prompting an exodus by residents out of the city.
Meanwhile in Europe, Britain reported 786 new deaths as Spain, France and Italy all recorded new surges in fatalities.
Britain’s toll is on a steeper trajectory than other nations and it was predicted that the country could suffers as many as 66,000 deaths by July.,
France yesterday tightened lockdown rules as the country’s death toll breached 10,000.
The Covid-19 pandemic has now claimed more than 82,000 lives and infected more than 1.4 million people worldwide.
It has also triggered fears of a devastating global recession, which pushed governments to initiate rescue packages to stem the economic damage.
The UN’s International Labour Organization said 81 per cent of the global workforce of 3.3 billion people are now affected by the pandemic.
The Japanese government yesterday declared a month-long state of emergency and promised a $1-trillion stimulus package to limit its economic damage.
EU finance ministers were meanwhile working on a deal to use the eurozone’s 410-billion-euro ($447 billion) bailout fund to fight the virus but the bloc remains divided on pooling debt to issue “coronabonds.”
Stock markets were up across Asia and Europe but Wall Street finished slightly lower.