At the start of their first-ever virtual World Health Assembly (WHA), WHO member states agreed to delay a controversial discussion on granting Taiwan observer status until later in the year.
The agreement came after WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pledged to launch an independent probe to review the coronavirus pandemic response as soon as possible, and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) announced that China would provide US$2 billion over two years to fight the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.
Despite the US and other members stepping up pressure in recent days, the WHA unanimously agreed to postpone a decision on observer status for Taiwan — a move vehemently opposed by Beijing — to avoid diverting attention from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Photo: AFP / WHO
Tedros had opened the two-day virtual meeting by warning there was still “a long road to travel” before the pandemic is contained, saying that the majority of the world’s population remains susceptible to the virus.
Tedros said the pandemic has exposed critical fault lines between countries that could jeopardize stopping the virus.
“Science has been hailed and scorned, nations have come together as never before and geopolitical divisions have been thrown into sharp relief,” he said.
Photo: AFP / WHO
The WHO is committed to “transparency, accountability, and continuous improvement,” Tedros said.
The EU’s 27-member bloc and other countries called for an independent evaluation of the WHO’s initial response to the pandemic “to review experience gained and lessons learned.”
The EU resolution proposes that the independent evaluation should be initiated “at the earliest appropriate moment” and should, among other issues, examine “the actions of WHO and their timelines pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Tedros said that he welcomed the proposal for an independent evaluation of the global response to COVID-19, including the WHO’s coordinating role.
He also promised to “initiate an independent evaluation at the earliest appropriate moment to review experience gained and lessons learned, and to make recommendations to improve national and global pandemic preparedness and response.”
Xi defended his government’s actions, saying that China had provided all relevant outbreak data to the WHO and other countries, including the virus’ genetic sequence, “in a most timely fashion.”
“We have shared control and treatment experience with the world without reservation,” Xi said. “We have done everything in our power to support and assist countries in need.”
Xi said he also supports the idea of a comprehensive review of the global response to COVID-19.
“This work should be based on science and professionalism, led by WHO and conducted in an objective and impartial manner,” he said.
He said the US$2 billion would be to support COVID-19 response efforts, including economic and social development, particularly in developing countries.
Meanwhile, in her video address, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said countries need to work together to overcome the pandemic.
“No country can solve this problem alone,” she said.
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
Americans awoke yesterday to charred and glass-strewn streets in dozens of cities after another night of unrest fueled by rage over the mistreatment of African Americans at the hands of police, who responded to the violence with tear gas and rubber bullets. Tens of thousands marched peacefully through streets to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on Monday last week after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing. However, many demonstrations sank into chaos as night fell: Vehicles and businesses were torched. The words “I can’t breathe” were
The nation marked its 49th day with no new domestic COVID-19 cases yesterday, and there were no new imported cases, but that does not mean the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) can relax its attention, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said yesterday in Tainan as he and a team of health officials wrapped up a weekend visit to the city. The visit is part of the center’s efforts to promote domestic travel under the “new disease prevention lifestyle.” Among the 442 confirmed cases, 423 have been released from isolation and 12 people remain hospitalized, Chen
EXTRA INVITATIONS: Russia, Australia, South Korea and India would be asked to a later summit dedicated to countering China, Donald Trump said US President Donald Trump has been forced to cancel a planned face-to-face summit of G7 leaders this month and now wants to host an expanded meeting in September dedicated to countering China to which Russian President Vladimir Putin would be invited. Trump on Saturday announced that he had canceled the June meeting, which he had billed as a symbol of the US “transitioning back to greatness,” after German Chancellor Angela Merkel told him in a telephone call that she saw the summit in Washington as a health risk. Hundreds of security staff, journalists and officials also attend the two-day summits. Reports suggest