The World Health Organization (WHO) on July 9 announced the initiation of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR) to evaluate the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the response by governments worldwide.
The panel will be co-chaired by former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark and former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. While the panel will operate independently, they will choose other panel members as well as members of an independent secretariat to provide support.
Speaking at Thursday’s virtual press conference, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu said, “This is a time for self-reflection, to look at the world we live in and to find ways to strengthen our collaboration as we work together to save lives and bring this pandemic under control.”
“The magnitude of this pandemic, which has touched virtually everyone in the world, clearly deserves a commensurate evaluation,” he added.
The Director-General said the panel will present an interim report at the resumption of the World Health Assembly in November, and present a “substantive report” next May. He noted the report would “not be a standard report that ticks a box and is then put on a shelf to gather dust.”
“This is something we take seriously. We learn honestly, and we follow through too, honest to the assessment, and honest to the follow through and implementation,” he said.
The announcement on Thursday comes just two days after President Donald Trump’s administration notified the United Nations (UN) and Congress that the United States is withdrawing from the WHO amid lingering doubts about how well the UN handled the emergence of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly referred to as novel Coronavirus.
The withdrawal goes into effect July 6, 2021, a WHO spokesman told The Epoch Times, and the Trump administration is working with Congress to get the money the United States owes to the WHO, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters.
Trump announced in May that the United States would formally terminate its relationship with WHO, claiming the agency had what he considered to be close ties with China.
The President has consistently said that Chinese officials failed to report the outbreak of the CCP virus to the WHO and pressured the WHO “to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered by Chinese authorities.”
Recording of internal meetings obtained by The Associated Press (AP) earlier this month show that the agency struggled to obtain critical information about the CCP virus from Beijing in the early stages of the outbreak, in contradiction to public statements it made praising the regime’s response to the crisis.
In one such meeting, on Jan. 6, WHO officials complained that Beijing wasn’t sharing data needed to assess how the virus spreads between people and its risk to the rest of the world.
Beijing did not confirm that the virus was contagious until Jan. 20, and prior to this confirmation, they had stated there was little to no risk of human-to-human transmission, promoting many countries to maintain open borders.
There have been more than 12.2 million reported cases of the coronavirus and 554,928 deaths worldwide since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the disease. The United States currently leads the world in the number of infections with over 3.1 million cases and 133,291 deaths.
In a tweet on July 9, WHO Communications Director Gabby Stern said the WHO’S announcement regarding the initiation of an independent panel to review the global response was not related to Trump’s withdrawal.