Xi Jinping China Australia trade deal coronavirus US Donald Trump
Chinese President Xi Jinping (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

No WHO for you

Coalition backbenchers have called for a review of Australia’s funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO). It comes a day after US President Donald Trump announced the US would stop their financial support pending a review into the organisation’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Australia contributes nearly $53 million a year to the WHO, with Morrison saying he sympathised with some of Trump’s criticisms. He added Australia wouldn’t rule out reviewing the WHO’s performance but would wait until the pandemic was over. 

Six days of non-intervention and now we have a pandemic

Chinese officials secretly determined they were likely facing a pandemic when the coronavirus emerged in Wuhan but waited six days to inform the public. During that time, millions of people started travelling for Lunar New Year celebrations, while the city of Wuhan hosted a banquet for tens of thousands of people. 

President Xi Jinping warned the public on the seventh day, January 20, when there were already more than 3000 infections. 

China has also reopened its wet markets, selling fresh meat, produce and live animals with support from WHO (though WHO did advise against the selling of live animals). China has no animal welfare standards, and experts have warned that poorly treated and stressed animals are more likely to spread diseases. Morrison has berated WHO for its support. 

Masks are the hot autumn trend 

New York’s governor has ordered residents to wear masks in public where social distancing is not possible, which includes walking on the footpath, catching public transport or being inside a shop. Scarves or bandanas are permitted in lieu of a surgical mask.  

Around the world, people have started making their own face masks amid a shortage. Czech citizens have been credited with starting the movement, releasing videos on how to make homemade masks, while Taiwanese officials have worn pink masks to encourage students to do the same without being ridiculed by classmates.

Hello, great depression

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is facing huge demand, with 102 of the 189 member countries seeking assistance. They’re set to lend US$1 trillion ($1.58 trillion) and suspend debt payments for low-income countries, warning coronavirus is likely to trigger the worst recession since the Great Depression. 

School fights

School closures are back up for debate, with the national cabinet tonight discussing when kids can go back to class. Education Minister Dan Tehan is hoping schools will go back to normal within four to six weeks. States have once again dissented, with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian saying she won’t direct parents to send children to school.