White House Orders U.S. Intelligence Agencies To Investigate WHO, China Over COVID-19 Handling; U.S. Lists Reforms For WHO, Calls For Inclusion Of Taiwan At WHA, Places Restrictions On Aid Funding For PPE

ABC: White House orders intel agencies to investigate China, World Health Organization
“The White House has ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to review intercepted communications and other data to see whether China and possibly the World Health Organization concealed information early on about the novel coronavirus, two administration officials told ABC News. The investigation is a sign of President Donald Trump’s new hard line on China amid questions about his own response to the pandemic. After initially praising Xi Jinping and his government’s ‘transparency,’ the president has now even suggested his administration would seek compensation from Beijing…” (Finnegan/Phelps, 4/29).

Foreign Policy: WHO Becomes Battleground as Trump Chooses Pandemic Confrontation Over Cooperation
“…The United States and Japan are asking key like-minded nations, including Australia, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, to co-sign a draft letter to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of WHO, requesting he invite the Taiwanese delegation to the World Health Assembly, the United Nations health agency’s key decision-making body, which is expected to meet virtually in mid-May…” (Lynch, 4/29).

The Guardian: U.S. gives G7 countries a list of reforms it wants WHO to undertake
“The U.S. has presented its G7 partners with a list of reforms Washington would like carried out at the World Health Organization in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The proposals, which were shared on Friday by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department with health ministries in the six other member states, suggested organizational changes intended to reinforce the WHO’s independence and transparency. However, G7 diplomats said they had not been informed of whether the HHS proposals represented a comprehensive list of U.S. conditions to resume funding of the global health organization…” (Borger, 4/30).

New Humanitarian: U.S. adds restriction on foreign aid funding for COVID-19 supplies
“Hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. international aid funding for COVID-19 may no longer be used to buy medical masks and gloves without specific approval, according to a new directive from President Donald Trump’s administration, the New Humanitarian has learned. Using a new clause in its grant agreements, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will require aid agencies to get prior approval to buy key items of personal protective equipment (PPE) or ventilators. Unless extensive exemptions are granted, NGO officials said, the effectiveness of USAID’s COVID-19 funding has been thrown into question. Supplies, which protect health and other frontline workers, for other operations — including Ebola control — could also be disrupted…” (Parker, 4/29).

The Hill: Pompeo renews calls for China to provide U.S. access to Wuhan labs (Kelly, 4/29).

NBC: Trump administration asks intelligence agencies to find out whether China, WHO hid info on coronavirus pandemic (Dilanian et al., 4/29).

NBC: Senior Chinese official challenges Trump over coronavirus response, says U.S. wasted weeks (Frayer/Suliman, 4/29).

NPR: Why The U.S. Government Stopped Funding A Research Project On Bats And Coronaviruses (Aizenman, 4/29).

Reuters: U.K. envoy in Washington backs probe into origins of pandemic, WHO reforms (Holton/Shalal, 4/29).

VOA: U.S. Defunding of WHO Could Lead to Increase in Disabilities, Experts Say (Strother, 4/30).