World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference organized by Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva Switzerland on July 3, 2020
The World Health Organization, which faced fierce US criticism over its handling of the coronavirus crisis, launched an independent panel on Thursday to review its response to the pandemic.
The Independent panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response will be headed by former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark and former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
“Through you, the world will understand the truth of what happened and also the solutions to build our future better as one humanity,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the UN agency’s headquarters in Geneva.
US President Donald Trump had accused the WHO of botching its handling of the pandemic and of being a “puppet of China”.
The resolution, tabled by the European Union, called for an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation”.
It said the investigation should probe “the actions of WHO and their time-lines pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The United States on Tuesday formally started its withdrawal from the WHO, making good on Trump’s threats to deprive the UN body of its top donor over its management of the pandemic.
Public health advocates and Trump’s political opponents voiced outrage at the move.
‘This has to stop’
Tedros hit out at divisions in the international community and warned of severe consequences if this were not rectified.
“We cannot defeat this pandemic as a divided world. The virus thrives on division but is thwarted when we unite.”
The novel coronavirus has killed at least 549,701 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to an AFP tally on Thursday.
At least 12,066,880 cases of coronavirus have been registered in 196 countries and territories. Of these, at least 6,431,400 are now considered recovered.