Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said there was a need to strengthen and reform the World Health Organization so that it can adapt to new challenges, reported The Times of India. The prime minister made the remarks during a special G20 summit video conference where the group of nations committed to unite against the coronavirus pandemic, and inject $5 trillion (Rs 374 lakh crore) into the world economy to counter the impact of the crisis.
The prime minister reportedly pointed out that the United Nations agency handling international public health did not have the mandate to tackle a pandemic such as Covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. Therefore, Modi added that there was a need to empower the WHO in its “capacity of early warning” or developing effective vaccines or “capacity building”.
Modi also said international bodies like WHO were set up on models of the previous century. He further asked the G20 to openly share medical research, reported NDTV, citing sources in the Indian government.
The prime minister said 88% of the deaths due to the pandemic were from the member nations even as they share 80% of the global Gross Domestic Product and 60% of the world’s population, according to ANI.
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Modi told world leaders at the G-20 summit that they should put human beings rather than economic targets at the centre of their vision for global prosperity. He added that there was a need to develop a more adaptive, responsive, affordable and humane healthcare system around the world.
Other members of the G20 also supported Modi’s call to strengthen WHO’s mandate while tackling pandemics, the Indian administration said.
Leaders from other affected countries, including Spain, Jordan, Singapore and Switzerland, were also present at the summit.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia said it is the responsibility of the developed world to lend a helping hand to developing countries, to enable them to build their capacities and improve their infrastructure to fight the virus.
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres cautioned that the world is not winning the war against Covid-19. He said there was need of a “wartime plan” to handle the crisis.
The epicentre of the pandemic, which has infected 5,31,708 people, and killed 24,503, shifted from China to Europe this month. At least 7,503 people have died in Italy, 4,089 in Spain, and 1,331 in France. On the other hand, the number of new domestic infections in Wuhan, China, the original epicentre of the outbreak, has closed in on zero – though the country has reported a total of over 81,000 cases.