Even as world leaders discuss ways to combat the coronavirus pandemic and its stuttering impact on the global economy in an extraordinary virtual G20 Summit, strategic affairs expert Sushant Sareen said the World Health Organisation (WHO) must be criticised for its initial response to the crisis and toeing the line of China.
"Criticism of China and WHO is very much in order. The Chinese tried to hide this whole thing until they could not anymore; by the time the virus had spread across the globe. WHO was playing China's game. They were literally parroting what the Chinese had to say. That also prevented other countries from actually closing their borders, imposing travel restrictions, monitoring people coming from certain areas and all these contributed to this thing going out of control," Sareen told Republic TV.
Sushant Sareen also said that the coronavirus pandemic will "reorder the global order" and could change geopolitical, trade and economic patterns worldwide. He suggested that the economic fallouts from this crisis are going to hit India badly as a sizeable chunk of the economy is dependent on foreign trade. He further stated that to restart economic activity after the worldwide shutdown will be a challenging task that would require efforts from the G20.
Kickstarting the virtual G20 Summit on Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud called upon member nations to form an effective and coordinated response to COVID-19 and restore confidence in the global economy. Mentioning that the novel coronavirus had caused tremendous suffering to many people around the world, he reaffirmed support for the WHO in coordinating the efforts to counter this pandemic.
He observed that the G20 must take responsibility for financing the research and development of a vaccine for COVID-19. This emergency G20 Summit was convened by Saudi Arabia in the wake of the novel coronavirus crisis. PM Narendra Modi is also taking part in the Summit.