OPINIONS We are all in this together

OPINIONS

We are all in this together

China Daily

20:19, April 26, 2020

A medical staff member takes samples of a child at a COVID-19 testing point in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 15, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

For all the differences countries have demonstrated in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is one outstanding global consensus: we are all in this together.

It is therefore sad that when the world needs international synergy more than ever, global pandemic containment endeavors are being taken hostage by escalating geopolitical wrangling.

In a latest blow to the global public health regime, the US administration has decided to withhold the country's funds to the World Health Organization.

There are legitimate fears about the potentially devastating potential should the pandemic break the fragile public health systems of developing nations. To prevent the pandemic from hitting where it will hurt humanity the most, no one is in a better position than the WHO to play the role of global coordinator of the global campaign against this common threat. Particularly as the most technically capable, financially well-off nations themselves are preoccupied with self-protection.

It is a shame that rather than proactively serving the pressing need to dramatically boost the capability of the WHO to help vulnerable nations, which it should view as a natural component of the defenses of the United States, the White House is not providing the global public health watchdog with what it needs to fulfill its life-saving duties.

Multiple governments have come to the WHO's defense, highlighting its irreplaceable role in the ongoing anti-pandemic campaign. And the philanthropist Bill Gates has promised emergency financial support.

Yet the White House's fault-finding goes beyond finances. The burden of self-exoneration it is imposing on the WHO is inevitably distracting the latter when it needs to concentrate more on COVID-19. Both the WHO and China have done all they can to keep countries informed, and it is inaccurate to blame the pandemic on the two.

The complaints contrived against them are fabricated to meet the White House's own ends. But to serve their purpose these grievances need to seem credible. Since they are pretense not reality, the withholding of funding is intended to give the impression of just cause, and thus give substance to the charges.

Countries must put their COVID-19 responses front and center, mitigate the harm done by the pandemic, and assist those members of the international community that are least able to respond, so that all countries can bring the pandemic situation under control as soon as possible.

The United Nations will be 75 this year, COVID-19 is reminding countries of the continuous, and increasing value of multilateralism in a closely connected world. We will only halt COVID-19 through solidarity. No country can do it alone.

Countries, health partners and the private sector must work together to speed up the development of health technologies, vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics for the safety of everybody, as no one will be safe until we all are.

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