This photo shows the logo of the World Health Organization.
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday halted funding to the World Health Organization over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, drawing condemnation from infectious disease experts as the global death toll mounted.
Trump, who has reacted angrily to criticism of his administration's response to the worst epidemic in a century, has become increasingly hostile towards the WHO.
The Geneva-based organisation had promoted China's "disinformation" about the virus that likely led to a wider outbreak than otherwise would have occurred, Trump said.
"The WHO failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable," Trump told a White House news conference on Tuesday.
Nearly 2 million people globally have been infected and more than 124,000 have died since the disease emerged in China late last year, according to a Reuters tally.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it was not the time to reduce resources for the WHO.
"Now is the time for unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences," he said in a statement.
The United States is the biggest overall donor to the WHO, contributing more than $400 million in 2019, roughly 15% of its budget.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he sympathised with Trump's criticisms of the WHO, especially its "unfathomable" support of re-opening China's "wet markets", where freshly slaughtered, and live, animals are sold.
The coronavirus is believed to have emerged from such a market in the city of Wuhan late last year.
"But that said, the WHO also as an organisation does a lot of important work including here in our region in the Pacific and we work closely with them," Morrison told an Australian radio station.
"We are not going to throw the baby out of with the bathwater here, but they are also not immune from criticism."
More than 2,200 people died in the United States on Tuesday, a record toll according to a Reuters tally, even as it debated how to reopen its economy.
New York City, the US city hardest hit by the outbreak, revised its death toll sharply up to more than 10,000, to include victims presumed to have died of the lung disease but never tested.
US health advocacy group Protect Our Care said Trump's WHO funding withdrawal was "a transparent attempt ... to distract from his history downplaying the severity of the coronavirus crisis and his administration’s failure to prepare our nation".
"To be sure, the World Health Organization is not without fault but it is beyond irresponsible to cut its funding at the height of a global pandemic," said Leslie Dach, the group's chair.
A chaotic scramble for desperately needed medical equipment and protective gear engulfed the United States, prompting intense squabbling between the states and federal government at a moment the nation is facing one of its gravest emergencies.
Italy reported 969 new deaths, Spain 769 and France 299 as Europe reeled from a crisis that led the United States on Friday to finalise an unprecedented $2 trillion stimulus package.
Moscow and Lagos joined the roll call of cities around the world with empty streets, while Virginia and Maryland became the latest US states to announce stay-at-home orders, followed quickly by Washington DC.
The latest phase of these repatriation flights, known as the "Vande Bharat Mission," began on March 1 and will last till March 28. Slightly more than 1,350 international flights are scheduled to be operated from 28 countries in this phase, enabling an estimated 260,000 Indians to travel home.
Sheikh Hamdan took to his Instagram account and wrote, Thank you @willsmith for the bike! I named it Scotty…”
Pope Francis also urged Iraqi officials to "combat the scourge of corruption, misuse of power and disregard for law," in a country consistently ranked one of the most graft-tainted by Transparency International.