WHO members agree to independent probe of coronavirus response, Report

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WHO members agree to independent probe of coronavirus response, Report
WHO members agree to independent probe of coronavirus response, Report

The World Health Assembly has adopted a resolution to allow an investigation of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic. The resolution faced no objections from the assembly’s 194 member states.

The European Union was among countries and bodies to sponsor the motion at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual conference, urging an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of the international response to the pandemic.

Earlier Tuesday, the EU also voiced support for the WHO after President Donald Trump threatened to cut US funding of the global agency.

“This is the time for solidarity, not the time for finger-pointing or for undermining multilateral cooperation,” European foreign affairs spokeswoman Virginie Battu-Henriksson told reporters on the second day of the World Health Assembly.

The resolution did not immediately adopt a time frame for the investigation, but WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the assembly on Monday he would welcome an independent evaluation at the “earliest appropriate moment.”

WHO hails initiative, ignores Trump

The coronavirus pandemic “threatens to tear at the fabric of international cooperation,” but the WHO will continue to lead the global fight against it, said Tedros.

Speaking at the WHA summit on Tuesday, he thanked “the many member states who have expressed their support and solidarity” to the organization. He did not directly address Trump’s ultimatum to halt funding if the organization did not reform within 30 days.

Tedros greeted the EU resolution that calls for independent evaluation of the global response, which would also include the WHO.

“We want accountability more than anyone,” he said.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also mentioned the investigation, albeit stressing that the goal should be to identify improvements, not to lay blame.

“Together, we stress the central role of the World Health Organization in international health management,” Maas said in a statement. “It is important to strengthen the WHO, to support it, and to prepare it even better for the future. The resolution underlines that in the current situation acute crisis management is the priority. In a subsequent step, the WHO is planning an independent evaluation of the global response to COVID-19.”

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