Who let the virus out: Nation wants to know

India and 61 others, sign resolution seeking inquiry into origin of COVID19 at WHO's annual World Health Assembly


India, along with 61 other nations has backed a resolution at World Health Assembly demanding an independent inquiry in the spread of coronavirus. This comes as the first major step in foreign politics after outbreak of coronavirus which emanated in Wuhan, China and spread in the rest of the world at lightening speed.

This draft resolution is backed by important nations like India, Japan, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Indonesia, Russia, and all 27 EU member states. This international motion of such a wide scale is bound to anger China and could invoke some drastic steps from the country. It has already threatened Australia that it will stop its beef and barley exports coming to China.

This draft resolution seeks a “stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation, including using existing mechanisms,2 as appropriate, to review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19”. Further it seeks an independent evaluation into the effectiveness of mechanisms employed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the timeline of the actions taken by WHO pertaining to COVID19, as also review of functioning of International Health Regulations (IHR). The resolution does not single out China or mention its name but it asks of WHO to “work with other organisations and countries to identify the “zoonotic source” of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population.”

The resolution also calls for “intensification of cooperation and collaboration at all levels to contain, control and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic” in spirit of unity and solidarity. It also calls upon member states to “Share, COVID-19 related knowledge, lessons learned, experiences, best practices, data, materials and commodities needed in the response with WHO and other countries”.

The resolution calls upon WHO to provide assistance to countries upon request “to support the continued safe functioning of the health system in all relevant aspects necessary for an effective public health response to the COVID-19”.

The resolution also calls for “universal, timely and equitable access to and fair distribution of” health products and technologies to combat COVID19.

Despite of the fact that the US has been overtly criticising China’s role in origin and spread of coronavirus, it is not one of the signatories on this resolution. Diplomats believe that since the resolution adopts universal access to pandemic medicine US may have refrained from co-sponsoring the same. Further, the resolution also appreciates the work done by the WHO, while the US has been critical of the organization and even announced suspension of its funds to United Nations.

This resolution will be taken up at the World Health Assembly being held today and tomorrow via video conferencing. This is an annual Assembly which is gathering of 194 member states of WHO.

The complete draft resolution can be read here.


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