India has backed the 62-nation coalition draft resolution by Australia and the European Union seeking an independent probe of the World Health Organisation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly, the annual gathering of the WHO’s 194 member states will take up the issue of ‘Covid-19 Response’ during the two-day meet, starting Monday.
As per sources, “The European Union is expected to lead an international call, alongside countries including the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, for an inquiry into how the global pandemic has been handled and what lessons can be learned.”
“Initiate, at the earliest appropriate moment, and in consultation with the member states a stepwise process of impartial, an independent and comprehensive evaluation, including using existing mechanisms, as appropriate, to review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19,” states the draft resolution.
The language of resolution reflects the diplomatic tug of war that has taken place ever since the viral pandemic was announced in late 2019. The WHO has faced increasing criticism since April, amid allegations that the global health body has downplayed the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic at the behest of China, where the pandemic actually began. US President Donald Trump had described the WHO as being a ‘pipe organ’ for China, accusing it of misleading the world on the coronavirus. Trump had also suspended US funding for the WHO.
Australia was the first country to call for an independent inquiry as to how the coronavirus started. Subsequently, European nations and Australia have been gathering support for an ‘impartial, independent, and comprehensive evaluation’ of the WHO-coordinated international health response to Covid-19. Earlier this month, US and Germany intelligence agencies claimed that China had sought to coerce the WHO into delaying the declaration of a health emergency over the pandemic.
The WHO had declared the coronavirus as a health emergency on January 30, i.e. 10 days after China confirmed human transmission was occurring.
The 62 countries include Bangladesh, Canada, Russia, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Japan and was an effort to bring about transparency and accountability for the spread of the disease that has been widely-acknowledged to be the worst crisis since the second world war.