The World Health Organisation (WHO) has denied Donald Trump's claims that it is biased towards China during the coronavirus pandemic, insisting the country's status as the perceived origin of the outbreak makes it crucial in combating the disease globally.
Dr Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, dismissed comments by the US President yesterday describing the organisation as "very China-centric".
Mr Trump also threatened to halt funding to the international public health body and said it had "missed the call" to outline the seriousness of the disease in the early days. In January, the president said America was "going to be fine" as the disease took hold.
Dr Aylward hit back at Mr Trump's claims of a pro-Chinese bias, 100 days after the WHO was alerted to the "mystery illness" in the country when a handful of people fell ill in Wuhan.
Dr Aylward said "(China) is such an important partner of the international crisis that we're facing - this virus appears to have emerged out of Wuhan.
"It's absolutely essential that we work closely with China to understand this disease.
"It has just been such an important part of managing what is an extraordinarily devastating public health crisis.
"That's the approach we would take with every single country.
"It's got nothing to do with China specifically, it happened to be the place where this started."