EU calls for independent evaluation of global coronavirus response

EU calls for independent evaluation of global coronavirus response
© getty: World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Member states of the European Union and other countries are calling for an independent examination into the initial global response, coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO), to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

In a resolution crafted by the EU, the body called for an independent evaluation “to review experience gained and lessons learned."

Among other things, the resolution asks that the investigation be launched at the "earliest appropriate moment” and that it review the actions of WHO officials and how they responded during the outbreak's early stages. 

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Half of WHO's member countries backed the resolution, which will reportedly be discussed this week at the World Health Assembly, which is convening virtually for the first time. 

The push for the examination came as Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to commit $2 billion over the next two years to addressing the coronavirus outbreak. 

Xi claimed in a virtual speech that China had provided all relevant data related to the virus to the WHO and other countries "in a most timely fashion" and that it had "done everything in our power to support and assist countries in need.”

He also expressed support for a review of the global response to the coronavirus outbreak, which exploded in China before infecting millions of people across the globe. 

More than 4.7 million cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and about 315,000 deaths had been reported worldwide as of Monday morning, according to a Johns Hopkins University database

“This work should be based on science and professionalism, led by WHO and conducted in an objective and impartial manner,” Xi said.

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WHO, a United Nations body responsible for international public health, announced on Jan. 30 that the coronavirus outbreak was a public health emergency of international concern. The body also warned in subsequent weeks that the window was closing to thwart a global outbreak. 

But WHO officials also early on said that transmission of the virus was "limited" and waited until March 11 to declare a global pandemic. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus Former CBS News president: Most major cable news outlets 'unrelentingly liberal' in 'fear and loathing' of Trump An old man like me should be made more vulnerable to death by COVID-19 MORE has been outspoken in his criticism of WHO, claiming that the organization seemed "very biased toward China" and that its lack of transparency in the early stages of the outbreak prevented the U.S. from being more prepared. 

He announced in mid-April that he would halt funding to the body pending a review. The U.S. has been the biggest contributor to the WHO's budget in the world. Trump's fiscal 2021 budget request proposed cutting funding from $122 million to about $58 million.

--Updated at 10:23 a.m.