- Former leaders of New Zealand, Liberia named as co-chairs
- Agency has come under fire from the U.S. for response
The World Health Organization named leaders of an independent panel to review its response to the Covid-19 pandemic that has been criticized by the U.S.
Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former president of Liberia, were selected as co-chairs, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a meeting with member-states. The panel will present an interim report in November.
WHO has come under fire for its response to the coronavirus outbreak from President Donald Trump who is pulling the U.S. out of the global group, saying that it’s too close to China. Tedros has responded that the agency acted appropriately with the information it had and the rest of the world had plenty of time to prepare to fight the outbreak.
Clark and Johnson Sirleaf, who were chosen in consultation with experts and member countries, will pick the rest of the committee, Tedros said. He suggested that in addition to the interim report, the panel will provide monthly updates. The panel will review the international response to the pandemic, including that of the WHO. The full report is expected in May.
“It’s time for a very honest reflection,” Tedros said in the meeting. “All of us must look in the mirror. The WHO, every member state, all involved in the response, everyone. Are we ready to learn the big lessons?”