Calls for Inquiry into WHO Response of Pandemic

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Sarah Peddie

The World Health Organisation (WHO) member states agreed to launch an inquiry into the handling of the COVID-19 outbreak by the organisation at the World Health Assembly held on Tuesday.

At the first ever virtual World Health Assembly in Geneva was held over two days came to the conclusion that an investigation into the world’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak was backed hugely by the member states. 

All 194 WHO member states agreed to the resolution that was proposed by the European Union on behalf of more than 100 countries which included Australia, Canada, Russia, the UK and many others.

The response calls for an "impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation" of the international response and will focus on the WHO’s timelines in dealing with the pandemic. 

The body has already faced criticism that it was late in declaring a health emergency. 

This comes after criticism from the US towards the body as President Donald Trump has branded them as a “puppet” of China and suspended funding for the WHO - the US are the biggest donor of the organisation. 

The US Health Secretary Alex Azar said in his statement to the Assembly: "We must be frank about one of the primary reasons this outbreak spun out of control: there was a failure by this organisation to obtain the information that the world needed, and that failure cost many lives.

The EU alongwith countries such as the UK, Australia and New Zealand have also been pushing for an inquiry into how the outbreak was handled. 

Dr Tedros responded to the inquiry and agreed that the response had to be looked at and an independent evaluation would highlight lessons that could be learned and put forward recommendations. 

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