The planet is paying a heavy price for countries ignoring the recommendations of the World Health Organization to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, UN chief Antonio Guterres told a virtual meeting of the WHO’s World Health Assembly on Monday.
“Different countries have followed different, sometimes contradictory strategies and we are all paying a heavy price,” the secretary-general told the WHO gathering.
Speaking after Guterres, the head of the WHO said he would initiate an independent evaluation of its handling of the coronavirus pandemic at the “earliest appropriate moment” and vowed transparency and accountability.
“We all have lessons to learn from the pandemic. Every country and every organisation must examine its response and learn from its experience. WHO is committed to transparency, accountability and continuous improvement,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the assembly.
Tedros thanked early high-level speakers for their “strong support for WHO at this critical time” and said that the review must encompass responsibility of “all actors in good faith”.
“The risk remains high and we have a long road to travel,” Tedros said. Preliminary serological tests in some countries showed that at most 20% of populations had contracted the disease and “in most places less than 10 per cent”, he said.