Pandemic response probe team says WHO, China could have acted faster

  • The panel also criticised WHO for dragging its feet at the start of the crisis, pointing out that the UN health agency had not convened its emergency committee until January 22, 2020.
Covid-19 was first detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, before seeping beyond China's borders to wreak global havoc, costing more than two million lives and eviscerating economies.(REUTERS)
Covid-19 was first detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, before seeping beyond China's borders to wreak global havoc, costing more than two million lives and eviscerating economies.(REUTERS)
Published on Jan 18, 2021 10:33 PM IST
Copy Link
AFP | , Geneva

The World Health Organization and Beijing could have acted faster when Covid-19 first surfaced in China, a group investigating the global response has concluded.

In its second report, the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response said that an evaluation of the "chronology of the early phase of the outbreak suggests that there was potential for early signs to have been acted on more rapidly".

Covid-19 was first detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, before seeping beyond China's borders to wreak global havoc, costing more than two million lives and eviscerating economies.

In its report, the panel found it was "clear" that "public health measures could have been applied more forcefully by local and national health authorities in China in January."

The panel also criticised WHO for dragging its feet at the start of the crisis, pointing out that the UN health agency had not convened its emergency committee until January 22, 2020.

And the committee failed to agree to declare the novel coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) -- its highest alert level -- until a week later.

"It is not clear why the committee did not meet until the third week of January, nor is it clear why it was unable to agree on the (PHEIC) declaration... when it was first convened," the report said.

Since the beginning of the crisis, the WHO has faced harsh criticism over its response, with claims it dragged its feet on declaring a pandemic and on recommending face masks.

The WHO came under especially fierce attack from outgoing US President Donald Trump, who accused the organisation of botching its handling of the pandemic and of being a "puppet of China".

Against that backdrop, WHO member states last May agreed a resolution calling for an "impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation... to review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response" to the pandemic.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Professor Ajay Agrawal, who was honoured with the Order of Canada in the 2022 list. (Credit: University of Toronto)

    Two Indo-Canadian academics honoured with Order of Canada

    Two Indo-Canadian academics, working on research to advance the betterment of mankind, have been honoured with one of the country's most prestigious awards, the Order of Canada. Their names were in the list published by the office of the governor-general of Canada Mary Simon. Both have been invested (as the bestowal of the awards is described) into the Order as a Member. They are professors Ajay Agrawal and Parminder Raina.

  • SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk.

    Elon Musk's Twitter hiatus, in 2nd week now,  generates curiosity 

    The world's richest person, Elon Musk, has not tweeted in about 10 days and it can't go unnoticed. The 51-year-old business tycoon has 100 million followers on the microblogging site, which he is planning to buy. Since April, he has been making headlines for the $44 billion deal and his comments and concerns about the presence of a large number of fake accounts on Twitter.

  • A Taliban fighter stands guard at a news conference about a new command of hijab by Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

    Taliban's reclusive supreme leader attends gathering in Kabul: Report

    The Taliban's reclusive supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada joined a large gathering of nationwide religious leaders in Kabul on Friday, the state news agency said, adding he would give a speech. The Taliban's state-run Bakhtar News Agency confirmed the reclusive leader, who is based in the southern city of Kandahar, was attending the meeting of more than 3,000 male participants from around the country, aimed at discussing issues of national unity.

  • James Topp, a Canadian Forces veteran who marched across Canada protesting against the Covid-19 vaccines mandates, speaks to supporters as he arrives at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National War Memorial ahead of Canada Day in Ottawa, Ontario, on Thursday. (REUTERS)

    July 1: Canada to mark 155th anniversary of its formation

    As the country prepares to celebrate the 155th anniversary of the formation of the Canadian Confederation, Canada Day, the traditional centre of festivities, Parliament Hill in Ottawa, will be off limits as protesters linked to the Freedom Convoy begin gathering in the capital for the long weekend. Various events have been listed by protesters including a march to Parliament Hill on Friday.

  • This image of a "Most Wanted" poster obtained from the FBI on June 30, 2022, shows Ruja Ignatova. - Ignatova, dubbed the "Crypto Queen." after she raised billions of dollars in a fraudulent virtual currency scheme was placed on the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives list June 30, 2022. (Photo by Handout / FBI / AFP) / 

    Bulgaria's ‘Crypto Queen’ Ruja Ignatova added to FBI's most-wanted list

    Quicked is empty for story with id 101656645778593

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, July 01, 2022