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Opinion

Tracing the roots of Sars-CoV-2 | HT Editorial – Editorials

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The Australian draft resolution at the World Health Assembly calling for an investigation into the sources of the virus is needed, and India has rightly supported it. China’s decision to treat this as a hostile act has given the resolution a political overtone. It has also drawn attention to China’s absurd refusal not to allow the World Health Organization (WHO) or any international scientific team to study ground zero of the outbreak. Given the destruction the virus has caused, Beijing could only have improved its battered image by allowing an investigation. The United States, which sees Covid-19 through the prism of a great power rivalry, did not join because China was not directly mentioned.

Having a global scientific investigation into the origins of a pandemic should have been a matter of course. The fact that it has now become a geopolitical battleground is a sign that the international health system, particularly the WHO, needs reform. Although it was a United Nations agency, it was unusual in being funded and run by non-governmental organizations. This is why he proved so inept at navigating global politics or rejecting Beijing’s unreasonable demands. Member States should lay the groundwork for a broader debate on how WHO should be revised. The world cannot afford another pandemic, and this should be the overriding thinking of all countries, including China.

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