India joins 61 countries to seek probe into coronavirus crisis
A coalition of 62 countries, led by Australia and the European Union moved a proposal at World Health Assembly seeking to identify the source of coronavirus and an "impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation" into the World Health Organization's response to the COVID-19 crisis. India is a part of this group, China naturally isn't, and neither is the United States. Here are more details.
China, the home of coronavirus, hid crucial information
The health crisis, the worst since World War II, has destroyed countries. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which was first reported from Wuhan in China in December 2019, is believed to have originated from a wet market. There is ambiguity around the virus' transmission from animals to humans. China is accused of concealing crucial information and WHO was slammed for accepting the country's findings on face-value.
Proposal likely to be taken up on Monday
The proposal is a part of the seven-page draft resolution and is likely to be taken up by the Assembly on Monday. The resolution has the support of three of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — UK, Russia, and France. Other countries like Japan, Turkey, South Korea, New Zealand, and South Africa also lent their support.
China or Wuhan weren't mentioned
While the proposal doesn't mention China or Wuhan, it asks WHO Chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to collaborate with World Organization for Animal Health and identify "the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts". The virus has taken 316,711 lives worldwide and forced countries to announce sweeping restrictions.
WHO's response to crisis must also be judged, said countries
Further, the resolution asks WHO to "initiate at the earliest appropriate moment...a stepwise process of an impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation of the international response, and the actions of the WHO and its timeline".
Australia's push for inquiry miffed China
Australia was the first nation to demand an investigation into the pandemic, a move that didn't find takers in Beijing. China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi slammed foreign lawmakers for politicizing the pandemic. China's representative in Canberra (Australia's capital) suggested consumer boycotts of Australian products too. The country's officials say linking the outbreak to Wuhan, only because cases were reported from there, would be unfair.
It's a responsible thing to do: Australian minister on resolution
On the fresh resolution, Australia's Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said it was about lessons that the world can take from the pandemic. "That's the responsible thing to do when 300,000 souls have lost their lives around the world," he told ABC.
Understanding why India's stand on the matter is unprecedented
This is the first time India has revealed its position on the origin of the virus in an international forum. India has had several conversations with the signatories of this resolution recently. And Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla also spoke with his counterparts in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. In India, the death toll due to COVID-19 crossed 3,000 today.