The European Union-drafted resolution seeking an independent probe into the coronavirus pandemic has been signed by 123 member countries so far. The resolution has already been backed by all the member countries of the European Union and 50 African nations after Australia major push for an investigation into the origin of the virus outbreak and the response of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt reportedly said that the resolution is expected to be endorsed at the World Health Assembly which is set to begin on May 18. According to Australian media reports, at least 116 countries have signed up as co-sponsors of the resolution calling for an investigation. The draft calls for "impartial, independent and comprehensive" probe into the COVID-19 crisis and an inquiry into the actions of the WHO and “timelines pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic”.
"Initiate, at the earliest appropriate moment, and in consultation with the Member States a stepwise process of impartial, 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," reads the draft resolution.
The draft resolution has already received support from nations like Albania, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Peru, Republic of Korea, Russia, San Marino, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and Zambia.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO has announced that the 73rd World Health Assembly will be held virtually and the meeting will be centred on the impact of coronavirus. All 194 member states and observers of the WHO are expected to join the meeting via videoconference which will conclude on May 19.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan will represent India at the World Health Assembly beginning 3.30pm IST on May 18. The Assembly is also set to vote on whether Taiwan should be invited to join as a WHO observer amid its excellent COVID-19 response, in spite of China's strong opposition as it claims the self-governing island as its territory under the one-China policy.
(Image credit: AP)