A total of 62 countries including India have backed a joint effort by Australia and European Union (EU) calling for an independent inquiry into the World Health Organization's response to the Coronavirus pandemic, according to a draft resolution proposed for 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting beginning on Monday.
The draft calls for "impartial, independent and comprehensive" probe into the COVID-19 crisis. Besides, an inquiry into the actions of the World Health Organization (WHO) and "their 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," the draft report reads.
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". Last month, Australia was the first country to call for an independent inquiry into how the coronavirus started. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said allowing the WHO to investigate the outbreak "strikes me as a bit poacher and gamekeeper," ABC reported.
"This is about collaborating to equip the international community to better prevent or counter the next pandemic and keep our citizens safe," Payne was quoted as saying by ABC. However, the motion has not found the mention of China or the city of Wuhan where the outbreak is believed to have started.
The relevant portion of the draft resolution accessed by Republic TV calls for the initiation of an impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation to review a lot of things related to the Covid outbreak, including what amounts to complete scrutiny of the WHO's actions and timelines, which would certainly have a bearing on China.
The draft resolution includes member nations like Albania, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Mozambique, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, San Marino, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Zambia.
The WHA is the World Health Organization (WHO)’s plenary body whose member states approve the organization’s budget, fill vacancies in its executive board, and vote on agenda items, as per reports. The two-day meeting will address a resolution, proposed by the EU to jointly develop affordable diagnostics, medicines, and vaccines for Covid-19. The Assembly is also set to vote on whether Taiwan should be invited to join as a WHO member amid its excellent COVID-19 response, in spite of China's strong opposition as it claims Taiwan as its territory- under the one-China policy.
(With agency inputs)