WHO sets up independent panel to review its handling of COVID-19 pandemic

World Health Organization (WHO) has set up an independent panel to review its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the response by governments. The announcement follows strong criticism by US President Donald Trump, which accused the WHO of being China-centric.

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have agreed to head the panel. The co-chairs will select the other members.

The panel will then provide an interim report to an annual meeting of health ministers in November and present a substantive report next May.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the magnitude of this pandemic has virtually touched everyone and deserved a commensurate evaluation.

More than 1.2 crore people have been infected by the novel coronavirus globally and over 5.48 lakh have died.

US has formally informed WHO that it is withdrawing from the UN agency in a year’s time.