At UNSC meet, the US spotlights origin of Covid-19 in swipe at Beijing

The United States told the meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic that there should be complete transparency of public health data and information
The United Nations Security Council held a virtual meeting on the Covid-19 pandemic. (Representative photo)(Reuters)
The United Nations Security Council held a virtual meeting on the Covid-19 pandemic. (Representative photo)(Reuters)
Updated on Apr 10, 2020 10:36 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

At the UN Security Council’s virtual meeting on the coronavirus pandemic late on Thursday, the United States called for “science-based data collection and analysis of the origins, characteristics and spread of the virus”.

“We cannot stress enough how important these methods are,” Ambassador Kelly Kraft told the security council at its first closed-door meeting to discuss the pandemic that has killed 90,000 and infected 1.5 million people across 200 countries.

Ambassador Kelly Craft’s reference on the origin of the virus echoes a point that US President Donald Trump and his administration has frequently made, variously labelling the Sars-CoV-2 pathogen the “Chinese Virus” to underscore that it was spotted in the Chinese city of Wuhan and message that Beijing should have acted faster to warn the world.

China has blocked the pandemic from being discussed by the UN Security Council for all of March when it held the UNSC president’s post, arguing that the pandemic was not within its mandate.

Washington, on the other hand, insisted that any council action refer to the origins of the virus, much to the annoyance of China. US President Trump had set the tone for his administration’s stand at Thursday’s council meeting this week when he put the World Health Organisation on notice, calling it “China centric” and giving the US bad advice.

“The United States reiterates today the need for complete transparency and the timely sharing of public health data and information within the international community. The most effective way to contain this pandemic is through accurate, science-based data collection and analysis of the origins, characteristics, and spread of the virus,” Ambassador Kelly Craft said early in her remarks on the disease.

China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun, according to news agency Reuters, told the Security Council that it should reject any acts of stigmatization and politicisation.

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who briefed the council about the pandemic, described it as the “gravest test” since the UN was founded 75 years ago.

The secretary-general reiterated that the United Nations faces “its gravest test” since the organization was founded 75 years ago from the pandemic and concluded saying: “This is the fight of a generation — and the raison d’être of (the reason for) the United Nations itself.”

The council had met on Thursday at the request of nine of the elected members. After the meeting the council issued a short statement, agreed by consensus, which expressed support for Guterres’ efforts concerning “the potential impact of Covid-19 pandemic to conflict-affected countries.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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