India, along with 120 other countries like European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Japan, etc, are calling for an independent inquiry into the WHO’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a draft resolution proposed for 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting beginning today. The probe was first called by Australia for a direct investigation of the role and responsibility of China in the origin of the pandemic.
What is the World Health Assembly and the proposal drafted?
The World Health Assembly is the prime decision-making body of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The 194 delegates of member states of the United Nations take part in the meetings. This year the meeting was hosted virtually and was centred around bolstering global coordination to fight coronavirus pandemic.
The draft calls for an “impartial, independent, and comprehensive” probe into the coronavirus crisis. Besides, an inquiry into the actions of the World Health Organization (WHO) and “their timelines pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Draft reads, “Initiate, at the earliest appropriate moment, and in consultation with member states, a stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation … to review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to Covid-19.”
Last month, Australia was the first country to call for an independent inquiry into how the coronavirus outbreak started.
Nowhere does the draft specifically mentioned Wuhan or China, from where the outbreak started. Australia undeviatingly called out for a probe in China’s role and responsibility in the origin of the Pandemic. After which according to The Guardian, Beijing has proposed huge tariffs on Australian barley and hindered meat imports but with growing international support China to has softened its language. The WHO resolution is contrastingly weak which may have been vital to getting the support of the countries that may have ties with China, according to CNN.
China – USA Blame Game.
The US President Donald Trump has criticised WHO for being slow to respond and alleged it has been bent towards China. He said the WHO had “gave us a lot of very bad advice, terrible advice” and were “wrong so much and always on the side of China”. He has also retained the fundings of WHO.
The US has led the calls for retribution against the Chinese government, with President Donald Trump saying China should face consequences if it was found to be “knowingly responsible”, tweeting that the world had been “hit by the plague from China”, and suggesting the virus was connected to a Wuhan laboratory.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said he endorses the calls for an investigation into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic at a key summit Monday, but insisted that any inquiry should hold down until the virus is curbed.
“All along we have acted with openness, transparency and responsibility, we have provided information to the WHO and relevant countries in the most timely fashion, we have released the genome sequence at the earliest possible time, we have shared control and treatment experiences with the world without reservation, we have done everything in our power to support and assist countries in need,” Xi told the assembly via video conference.
He said China would back the research and development of vaccines, would aid African nations in their response to the virus’ proliferation, and would work with the United Nations to keep supply lanes around the world open.
Source- Guardian, BBC, and Express.UK Cover image- Getty Images.