WHO appoints 2 women to lead pandemic panel

U.S. & World

Commuters wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus walk through a subway station in Beijing, Thursday, July 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

GENEVA — The head of the World Health Organization says former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark will lead a new panel to give an “honest assessment” of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the appointments to the newly created Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.

“I cannot Imagine two more strong-minded, independent leaders to help guide us through this critical learning process to help us understand what happened — an honest assessment and to help us understand also what we should do to prevent such a tragedy in the future,” he said Thursday.

The announcement comes after the WHO’s general assembly in May called for a comprehensive evaluation of the WHO and the world response to the outbreak. It comes after repeated criticism by U.S. president Donald Trump’s administration of the U.N. health agency over its handling of the pandemic and alleged deference to China, where COVID-19 first emerged.

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