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COVID-19 | India among countries backing probe into scientific ‘events’ behind pandemic

Residents wearing face masks wait in line for nucleic acid testing at a residential community in Wuhan, Hubei, China.

Residents wearing face masks wait in line for nucleic acid testing at a residential community in Wuhan, Hubei, China.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

The recommendation is part of a draft resolution jointly conceived by Australia and the European Union

At the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly to be held in Geneva during May 18-19, India is expected to join a large group of countries to identify scientific "events" that could have contributed to the spread of the novel Corona virus and the consequent COVID-19 pandemic.

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The recommendation is part of a draft resolution jointly conceived by Australia and the European Union which got several other countries including Russia, Brazil and South Africa to support evaluation of possible food and animals-related sources that could have led to the spread of the deadly pandemic.

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"The Seventy-third World Health Assembly requests the Director General to ... identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts, including through efforts such as scientific and collaborative field missions, which will enable targeted interventions and a research agenda to reduce the risk of similar events," says the draft motion that The Hindu has seen.

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The resolution also calls for "impartial, independent and comprehensive" evaluation into the "WHO-coordinated international health response" to the COVID-19 pandemic. The language of the resolution reflects the diplomatic tug of war that has taken place ever since the viral pandemic was announced in late 2019. The role of the WHO has been in focus since the beginning as the organisation was criticised by US President Donald Trump repeatedly among others for reported lack of prompt action in alerting the world about the infectious nature of the pandemic.

At least 61 countries that includes Bangladesh, Japan, South Korea, UK among others have supported the draft resolution. The support extended to the move shows that all BRICS member countries but China have extended support to the language. The resolution does not mention China or Wuhan but it is understood to be influenced by the Australian line which called for seeking an explanation of the COVID-19 pandemic from China.

Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

Australia's Premier Scott Morrison who earlier sought an international investigation had drawn strong criticism from China and because of the initial exchanges, the resolution is being interpreted as a move to fix accountability for the pandemic. The draft resolution however does not mention China in the language.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 6:43:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/covid-19-india-among-countries-backing-probe-into-scientific-events-behind-pandemic/article31610870.ece

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