WHO launches investigation of its handling of pandemic

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has bowed to calls from most of its member states to launch an independent investigation into its management of the international response to the coronavirus. US President Donald Trump has claimed he has proof suggesting the coronavirus originated in a lab in China, while the scientific community has insisted all evidence to date shows the virus likely jumped into humans from animals. “They were wrong so much, always on the side of China.” Later on Monday, Mr Trump tweeted a letter he had sent WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in which the president said “the only way forward” was if WHO “can actually demonstrate independence from China”. Mr Trump has repeatedly attacked WHO, claiming it helped China conceal the extent of the coronavirus pandemic in its early stages. The 11-page report raised questions such as whether WHO’s warning system for alerting the world to outbreaks is adequate, and suggested member states might need to “reassess” WHO’s role in providing travel advice to countries. In his opening remarks at the WHO meeting, Dr Tedros held firm and sought to focus on the bigger troubles posed by the outbreak, saying “we have been humbled by this very small microbe”. “And geopolitical divisions have been thrown into sharp relief.” China, meanwhile, sought to divert attention to its renewed efforts to slow the coronavirus pandemic, with Mr Xi announcing the billion outlay over two years to fight it. Mr Xi has said China supports the idea of a comprehensive review of the global response to Covid-19 and that it should be “based on science and professionalism led by WHO, and conducted in an objective and impartial manner”.