Australia-Championed CCP Virus Inquiry Resolution Passed by World Health Assembly

By Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australian based reporter who focuses on national politics and the geopolitical environment in the Asia-pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.
May 19, 2020Updated: May 21, 2020

Australia’s push for an independent inquiry into the origins of the CCP virus has been met with overwhelming support from the international community.

Presented jointly by Australia and over 100 other nations, the COVID-19 Draft Response Resolution (pdf) was put before the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) decision-making body, the World Health Assembly (WHA) on May 18.

The majority of the WHA member countries reached consensus and the draft was formally adopted on May 19, including by China.

Health minister Greg Hunt wrote on Twitter late on Tuesday night: “Delighted that the WHA Assembly has passed by consensus the Motion calling for an impartial, independent & comprehensive examination of the global response to COVID-19.”

The resolution calls on the WHO’s Director-General to instigate as soon as practical an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19.

Epoch Times Photo
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing, on July 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)

Making a note to look into the actions of the WHO and their timelines on the outbreak of the virus, the resolution also asks that the inquiry make recommendations to improve global pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response capacity.

While not mentioning Wuhan or China in the proposal, the resolution does ask that the inquiry and the WHO works closely with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and countries to identify the zoonotic source of the virus and its introduction into the human population.

The resolution also noted that the WHO should also look into the possible role of intermediate hosts, through efforts such as scientific and collaborative field missions so that the countries could prevent the establishment of new reservoirs of the disease.

Residents wait in line to provide swab samples to be tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus, in a street in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on May 15, 2020. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking at the WHA on May 18, health minister Greg Hunt said that the inquiry needed to guard against the risks of wildlife wet markets to global health.

“We need to learn the lessons from this pandemic and ensure we have the strongest possible global health architecture, with an enhanced ability to prevent and respond to future outbreaks,” Hunt said.

Speaking on Seven’s Sunrise program on May 19, federal trade minister Simon Birmingham said that the Australian government welcomed the decision.

Birmingham said that the government believed that the decision would “give the world greater confidence that there will be a proper investigation into the origins and handling of COVID-19.”

“It does not matter which country you are talking about, they have faced a loss of life, economic damage and we have to make sure that we do learn all those lessons and be better prepared,” said Birmingham.

China’s ambassador to Australia said it was “nothing but a joke” for Australia call the support of 110 nations for the inquiry a “vindication,” the ABC reported.

This is because Australia has backed down on what it originally called for—which was an independent inquiry outside of the WHO. The new draft has instead called for an impartial committee within the WHO to carry out the investigation.

United States President Donald Trump responded to the decision by the WHA by releasing a copy of his letter to the WHO Director-General on Twitter. In the letter, President Trump outlined his reasons for withdrawing the WHO funding, including in it the details of the draft COVID-19 resolution.

This article has been updated to reflect the correct date that the resolution was passed. The Epoch Times regrets the error.