Photo: Sam Boal/

The Tánaiste has criticised Donald Trump after he said he is freezing US payments to the World Health Organisation pending a review of its warnings about coronavirus and China.

The US president said the Covid-19 outbreak could have been contained at its source with lives spared had the UN health agency done a better job investigating reports coming out of China.

The United States contributed nearly $900 million (€823 million) to the WHO's budget for 2018-19, according to information on the agency's website.

Cork TD Simon Coveney, who is also Foreign Affairs Minister, tweeted that Mr Trump withholding funding was an "indefensible decision" in the midst of a pandemic.

He wrote: "So many vulnerable populations rely on WHO - deliberately undermining funding and trust now is shocking.

"Now is a time for global leadership and unity to save lives, not division and blame."

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