WHO, China could have acted quicker; outbreak 'largely hidden': Covid-19 probe team

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Jan 18, 2021, 08.18 PM(IST)

FILE Photograph:( Reuters )

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The pandemic response probe said on Monday that WHO, China could have acted more quickly to contain the spread of novel coronavirus

The pandemic response probe said on Monday that WHO, China could have acted quicker to contain the spread of novel coronavirus

The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR) in its second report also called the outbreak "largely hidden", adding that this caused the global spread. 

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The evaluation of the "chronology of the early phase of the outbreak suggests that there was potential for early signs to have been acted on more rapidly", the report said. 

Also read | WHO chief Tedros slams 'rich' countries and vaccine producers for ignoring 'poor' nations

The novel coronavirus was first found in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019 before spreading across the world to wreak havoc, killing over 2 million people and damaging economies. 

The independent panel also said that it was "clear" that "public health measures could have been applied more forcefully by local and national health authorities in China in January."

It also slammed the global health agency for its slow response, underscoring that WHO had not held its emergency committee until January 22, 2020 and failed to issue the highest alert level by not calling the outbreak an emergency at the right time. 

"It is not clear why the committee did not meet until the third week of January, nor is it clear why it was unable to agree on the (PHEIC) declaration... when it was first convened," it said. 

The WHO has faced severe criticism since the beginning of the pandemic, particularly from the US President Donald Trump who describes the organisation as a "puppet of China". 

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