Health ministers from around the world are expected to call for an independent evaluation of the World Health Organization’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic during a WHO meeting on Monday, APA reports citing Reuters.
Though they have opposing views of the WHO’s performance, China and the United States are likely to join the consensus for an independent evaluation during a virtual meeting of the World Health Assembly, the WHO’s decision-making body, diplomats said.
The call will be made in a resolution being presented by the European Union (EU) at the Geneva-based WHO’s annual two-day meeting, starting at 1000 gmt.
The text also calls for timely and equitable access to safe and efficacious diagnostics, medicines, and vaccines against the disease which has killed more than 300,000 people worldwide.
A fragile consensus emerged after more than a week of intense negotiations on the EU text, which could still change, the diplomats said.
“It looks like the resolution will be adopted. Politically speaking, there is agreement for now on an evaluation of the whole system and an investigation into the origin (of the virus), but not immediately,” a European diplomat told Reuters.
“It is important we were able to agree to the resolution, everybody,” he said.
The EU resolution is supported by a host of countries including Australia - a vocal critic of WHO and of China - as well as Britain, Canada, India, Japan, and Russia.
Names on a draft resolution seen by Reuters showed support from 116 of the 194 countries in the WHO.
The text calls on WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to initiate an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19, including the effectiveness of existing mechanisms “at the earliest appropriate moment.”
It backs continued work, including through scientific “field missions”, to identify the zoonotic or animal source of the virus and how it crossed the species barrier to reach humans.