The European Union or EU will come up with proposals to learn more about the coronavirus pandemic. They will submit them at the next meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The bloc will submit the proposals at a virtual meeting of the WHO on 18 May. Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, explained that the proposal, would “provide access to how to learn more about the origin of this disease to prevent the next pandemic. Because it wasn’t going to be the last. Lessons will have to be learned from it.”
Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said that China is accountable for tens of thousands of deaths. He called for an inquiry into their handling of the coronavirus outbreak at WHO.
Support for a full inquiry
Europe, including the UK, expressed support for an examination of the WHO’s role. The US did not further press its leverage in demanding a full inquiry. However, the US suspended its payments to the WHO, and critics describe this move counterproductive.
Borrel noted the lack of evidence to back US claims that the virus was intentionally or accidentally leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
“I think that when the US president makes such strong allegations against someone, he has information that I don’t have,” he said in an interview with the European Council on Foreign Relations.
“I do not think it is the time for blame games or mutual reproach,” Borrel added.
“This is the rhetoric we are somewhat hearing in the United States, calling the virus ‘Chinese’, or the ‘Wuhan virus’. I don’t think it is the moment to reproach anybody but instead to join forces against a problem that is everyone’s. If we don’t solve it everywhere, we won’t solve it anywhere.
“We won’t get out of this crisis without very strong coordinated action between China, the United States, and Europe.”
Borrell does not believe that China sparked disinformation in the form of “dangerous information that is putting lives at risk.”
However, he noted that Europe should no longer depend on China for medical supplies. He suggested that Africa could manufacture more for the EU.
“It is not normal for Europe not to produce a single gram of paracetamol, and for 80% of antibiotic production to be concentrated in China,” he said.
Observers expect arguments over the independence and terms of reference for any inquiry. The WHO initiated both internal and external inquiries into the Ebola outbreak in west Africa 2014.
The organization set up a committee in August 2015. The committee aims to assess nation state compliance with the WHO’s international health regulations. This is how nations keep the WHO informed about health policies and epidemics.
China should be accountable for the coronavirus pandemic, according to National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow in an interview with CNBC.
“On the China business, it’s up in the air. There’s no question about that. How, when, where and why — I’m going to leave that up to the president,” Kudlow said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”
The US and other countries criticized China for a lack of transparency about the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump said Thursday that he was thinking of imposing new tariffs on China due to the country’s management of the outbreak.