Tracing the roots of Sars-CoV-2 | HT Editorial
India is right in supporting an investigation. WHO reform should be nextUpdated: May 18, 2020 18:57 IST
The Australian draft resolution at the World Health Assembly calling for an investigation into the sources of the virus is necessary, and India has rightly supported it. China’s decision to treat this as an unfriendly act has given the resolution a political hue. It has also drawn attention to China’s absurd refusal to not allow the World Health Organization (WHO) or any international scientific team to study ground zero of the outbreak. Given the destruction the virus has wrought, Beijing could only have improved its battered image by allowing an investigation. The United States, which sees Covid-19 through the prism of great power rivalry, did not join in because China was not directly mentioned.
Having a global scientific investigation into the origins of a pandemic should have been a routine affair. That it has now become a geopolitical battleground is a sign that the international health system, particularly WHO, needs reform. Though a United Nations agency, it was unusual in being funded and directed by non-governmental organisations. This is why it proved so inept at navigating global politics or rejecting the unreasonable demands of Beijing. Member-states should lay the ground for a larger debate on how WHO should be overhauled. The world can’t afford another pandemic, and this should be the overriding thought of all countries, including China.