–Written By Apoorv Mishra
World Health Organization derives extraordinary powers from International Health Regulations(IHR) which were amended in 2005 and are aimed at handling the pandemics. However, WHO couldn’t utilize these powers and its negligence costed the world dearly.
First, it grants the power to WHO to act on non-state sources of information and question the member states or countries on their decision-making. Thus, it can prevent cover-ups by countries and initiate timely warnings and actions. However, the tweets of WHO as late as of February, denote the overwhelming bias to follow the Chinese numbers blindly, despite the plethora of evidences depicting a massive cover-up by the authoritarian state.
Second, it allows WHO to question a country on its decision making. However, it deliberately chose political correctness over being rational. This resulted in delayed lockdown of the epicenter of Wuhan city, late by almost 2 months. It also wrongfully ignored Taiwan as a highly infected province under one-China policy, when Taiwan was amongst the very few countries that were effectively containing the Corona Virus. So, instead of utilizing their data & learning from their methodology, WHO rather chose to keep a blind eye.
Third, WHO has the power to declare an outbreak as a public health emergency even without the host country’s approval. This means WHO could’ve declared Coronavirus as a major risk or an emergency causing event long before but it chose to remain subservient to China’s frenzy, despite possessing powers to overrule China’s objections.
In fact, WHO was advising against the trade and travel restrictions against Chinese companies and nationals as late as mid-February. Had it acted rationally, all the countries could’ve rather placed restrictions well before the Corona Virus reached the level of a “Global Health Emergency” or a Pandemic.
Last, the IHR authorizes WHO to “name and shame” nations that do not comply with IHR’s requirements to outbreak detection, trade and travel bans and enforcement of human rights efforts. This could’ve alerted the countries timely.
However, WHO chose to not only whitewash the Chinese misconduct and hiding of tangible information, it rather praised the steps taken by Chinese government. There are many tweets available on WHO’s official Twitter handle, where it is seen acting as a PR machinery romanticising with Chinese fraudulent and manufactured data. It is due to this systematic toeing of WHO to China’s position that led Wuhan’s Coronavirus to globalize itself from an “outbreak” in Hubei province to a “Pandemic” that’s bringing the whole world to a halt. Of late, some news portals have started referring WHO as Wuhan Health Organization for their deliberate failure to prevent the spread of the deadly Wuhan Virus. POTUS Trump and some European leaders too have begun expressing their justified anger towards China and WHO. It is a matter of time that WHO is held accountable for allowing the whole world to freeze because of the Wuhan Virus.