While the United States slashed funding for the World Health Organisation (WHO), China’s President Xi Jinping on May 18 said that the country will provide $2 billion over two years to fight the coronavirus pandemic and the economic fallout from it. Xi reportedly said that the two billion is in a bid to support COVID-9 response efforts, particularly in developing countries.
Meanwhile, the European Union’s 27-member bloc and other countries called for an independent evaluation of WHO’s initial response to the coronavirus pandemic to review experience gained and lessons learned. However, Xi reportedly said that China had provided all relevant outbreak data to WHO and other countries, including the virus’ genetic sequence. Xi also said that the nation has shared control and treatment experience with the world without reservation and they have also done everything in their power to support and assist countries in need.
As per reports, the EU resolution, on the other hand, proposes that the independent evaluation should be initiated ‘at the earliest appropriate moment’. Further, the resolution also states that the evaluation should examine the actions of WHO and their timelines pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the US President has repeatedly attacked the WHO and said that it helped China conceal the extent of the coronavirus pandemic in its early stages, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, at the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) said that the organisation announced the outbreak to be a global health emergency on January 30.
Tedros also added that in the following weeks he even warned countries that there was a narrowing window of opportunity to prevent the virus from spreading globally. Further adding, Tedros said that the WHO was committed to "transparency, accountability, and continuous improvement" and welcomed the proposal for an independent evaluation of the global response to COVID-19.
While addressing the 73rd WHA, Tedros said, “Since day one, WHO has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with countries in these darkest hours. WHO sounded the alarm early, and we sounded it often”.
Tedros also noted that the organisation also provided technical guidance and strategic advice, based on the latest science and experience. He further added that the WHO “supported countries to adapt and implement guidance”.