WHO members agree to an independent investigation into pandemic responses

WHO’s 194 member states, including the United States and China, passed a resolution on Tuesday on an “independent evaluation” of the UN agency’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. For months, Washington has criticized the latter for delaying the alarm.

The Director-General had given his approval the day before, but it is now official. WHO’s 194 member states, including the United States and China, agreed on Tuesday, May 19, on a resolution on an “independent evaluation” of the UN agency’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This consensus-approved text provides that “as soon as possible (…) a process of impartial, independent and complete evaluation” is initiated by the international action coordinated by the WHO in response to the pandemic to “improve global capacity for prevention of pandemic, preparedness and response. “

This assessment, whose outlines remain vague, must be examined “the measures taken by the WHO in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and their chronology”.

At the opening of the WHO annual meeting on Monday, May 18, its Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had already announced that the agency would launch an “independent investigation” of the coronavirus pandemic response “at the right time”. He also reiterated that the WHO sounded the alarm “quickly” and “often”.

The Covid-19 pandemic has killed more than 318,000 people since its beginning in December in China.

The resolution comes after repeated criticism from Washington. President Donald Trump accuses WHO of being a “Chinese doll” and accuses him of ignoring an early warning from Taiwan about the onset of the virus and its severity, which he said goes back to December. Washington also accuses the agency of delaying the explanation of the state of the pandemic, which the organization denies.

Donald Trump had already suspended US funding for WHO in mid-April and again threatened to leave the agency on Tuesday if it does not commit to “noticeable improvements” within 30 days. The United States has traditionally been the largest donor to WHO.

Who among the Sino-American fire?

Although the resolution passed on Tuesday at the annual meeting of the World Health Assembly does not refer to China, the United States did not oppose it.

However, on Monday, May 18, US Secretary of Health Alex Azar had assured WHO’s “failure” to Covid-19 had cost “many lives” and demanded a WHO “much more transparent” and who “is more responsible”.

China flew to the organization’s rescue on Tuesday, saying that the US administration was trying to “postpone its obligations” to the WHO and “color China’s efforts ahead of the epidemic.”

Beijing accuses United States of “using China” to “shirk its responsibility”

For Beijing, Washington just wants to forget the record

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated, without naming them, those countries that have “ignored WHO recommendations” to systematically test and isolate suspected cases, as well as enforce strict physical distance measures.

The Chinese authorities have repeatedly responded to the US allegations, believing that they served to conceal the assessment of the pandemic in the United States, the country most affected by deaths and cases, with 90,369 deaths in more than 1.5 million cases discovered.

With AFP