Coronavirus: Donald Trump pulls US funding of World Health Organization, accuses it of 'cover-up'

The US will no longer fund the World Health Organization (WHO), President Donald Trump has announced, because it's guilty of "severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus".

Funding will be suspended indefinitely while the US government conducts a review of WHO's handling of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The US was the WHO's largest source of financial support.

In a coronavirus briefing at the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday (local time), Trump said "so much death has been caused by [WHO's] mistakes".

"Today I'm instructing my administration to stop funding of the WHO while a review is conducted to assess the WHO's role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus," the President said.

The WHO was heavily criticised for a January tweet in which it said there was no proof of human-to-human transmission - an assessment that has since been proven well wide of the mark.

Trump says there is "credible" evidence that the WHO knew of human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 in December last year, but failed to respond appropriately. It is not clear where this information was sourced from.

"[The WHO has] problems the likes of which no one can believe," he told reporters.

Trump's announcement follows weeks of him accusing the WHO of providing bad advice on coronavirus, and allowing it to become a global pandemic.

Recently he criticised the WHO for praising China's transparency amidst the crisis, despite a Twitter post of his own commending Chinese President Xi Jinping for the same reason.

However Trump himself has been accused of mismanaging the coronavirus crisis in his own country.

After being warned in January that the disease had the potential to claim thousands of lives in the US, Trump halted flights from China - but he didn't take any further actions to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the US until March.

He has also repeatedly played down the crisis - once calling it a "hoax" - despite evidence showing the virus' threat was increasing.

In February, he told reporters that the number of coronavirus cases in the US, which was 15 at the time, would drop back to zero in a few days. The US now has more than 600,000 cases.