The decision by the World Health Assembly — the decision-making body of the World Health Organization — to probe its response to the coronavirus pandemic in an ‘impartial, independent and comprehensive’ manner was the least the WHO could do to assuage the universal grievance that it erred in taking too long before recognising the threat under pressure from China.
In a first virtual conference of the WHA, with more than a hundred countries participating, a confrontation with China was avoided, though the consensus was anti-China for its suppressing of information about the deadly virus until it was too late. More than 60 countries backed the move for an independent probe into the handling of the pandemic by the WHO. China was not named directly, though it was clear why under its controversial Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO had become extremely controversial. China itself did not oppose the probe, but to what it extent it would allow its initial handling in Wuhan, when the first case came to notice in early December last year, remains to be seen.
In the meantime, China mopped up supplies of such materials as face-masks, PPEs from all over the world directly or through its citizens before the WHO actually declared it a pandemic. Both China and the DG, WHO, initially insisted that the virus cannot be transmitted from human to human. Such perfidious conduct does require a thorough and transparent probe.