Global health leaders are meeting for the first time ever virtually to review ongoing international response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Monday and Tuesday envoys from 194 of the World Health Organization’s member states will meet virtually for the 73rd assembly of the UN body.
Over 4.5 million people have been infected with Covid-19 since December last year while over 300,000 people have died from the virus.
The World Health Organization has come under scrutiny over the pandemic and how it has handled the crisis.
But the Director General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says what is needed at this time is solidarity and unity.
He wrote on Twitter that “Today is the start of the 73rd World Health Assembly – the first ever to be convened virtually. It is an opportunity for health leaders to commit to fight COVID19 together, in unity, in solidarity! That’s the only way we can stop this pandemic and keep the world safe.”
Today is the start of the 73rd World Health Assembly – the first ever to be convened virtually. It is an opportunity for health leaders to commit to fight #COVID19 together, in unity, in solidarity! That’s the only way we can stop this pandemic and keep the world safe. #WHA73
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) May 18, 2020
Meeting to set priorities
Countries each year come together at the World Health Assembly to review the work of the UN’s health agency.
They also set priorities for the coming year at this meeting but the body is just an advisory agency for the UN.
Without more powers, it can’t force member countries to share accurate health information for action.
There are indication during this year’s virtually assembly meeting there would be calls for the WHO to be given more powers.
Should those powers be given it would allow inspectors to go into countries at the start of outbreaks, and carry out independent investigations.
The World Health Assembly #WHA73 starts today.
Health leaders are convening virtually for the first time this year, due to #COVID19.
Watch it LIVE here from 12:00 CEST.https://t.co/3LcaLDToH9
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) May 18, 2020