According to an interim report, the Chinese authorities could have applied the public health measures more forcefully, the WHO took too long to declare the international emergency.
Chinese officials could have enforced public health measures more vigorously in January with the spread of the coronavirus, and the World Health Organization (WHO) took too long to declare an international emergency, an independent group reviewing the management said of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, before infiltrating beyond the country’s borders to wreak havoc around the world, costing more than two million lives and eviscerating savings.
In an interim report on Monday, the panel, led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said: ‘The global pandemic alert system does is not suitable for its purpose. WHO does not have enough power to do the job. “
He also called for a “global reset” and said he would provide recommendations in a final report to health ministers in May.
.@TheIndPanel on pandemic preparedness and response informs the WHO Executive Board of its second progress report tomorrow. Senior @devex journalist @JennyLeiRavelo summarizes the key points of the report in the thread below. @sudhvir @minhealthnz @PeterGluckman https://t.co/McPrTvUA5n
– Helen Clark (@HelenClarkNZ) January 18, 2021
The panel said it was “clear” that “the public health measures could have been enforced more vigorously by local and national health authorities in China in January” before criticizing the WHO for failing to convene its committee to emergency before January 22, 2020, and failing to agree to declare the new coronavirus epidemic a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (USPPI) – its highest alert level – until a week later.
“It is not known why the committee did not meet before the third week of January, nor why it could not agree on the declaration … when it was first convened,” the report said.
The WHO has been severely criticized by US President Donald Trump, who suspended US contributions to the organization in April, and accused it of promoting China’s “disinformation” about the coronavirus epidemic.