World leaders call for solidarity at WHA meeting

Added On May 19, 2020

 The 73rd World Health Assembly kicked off on Monday for an unprecedented two-day online discussion focusing on future response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the opening of the assembly, leaders from across the world highlighted that the world must be united and the irreplaceable World Health Organization (WHO) should play a stronger role in the fight against the COVID-19 crisis.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the majority of the world's population remains susceptible to COVID-19 and there is a long road to travel as the risk remains high.
He noted that the world has lessons to learn from the pandemic and every country and every organization must examine its response and learn from its experience.
He also urged member states to strengthen the WHO.
"Now more than ever, we need a healthier world. Now more than ever, we need a safer world. Now more than ever, we need a fairer world. Healthy, safe and fair. And now more than ever, we need a stronger WHO. There is no other way forward but together."
Many speakers recognized the WHO's leading role in coordinating global fight against COVID-19 and took the opportunity to express gratitude and support for the organization. 
SOUNDBITE: SIMONETTA SOMMARUGA, President of the Swiss Confederation
"Director general (Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus), in this very special particular circumstances, let me assure you of the full and total support of Switzerland to the World Health Organization. Our commitment to you is based on our support to multilateralism, solidarity and international cooperation. Today, more than ever, these things are absolutely essential and they need to be strengthened."
SOUNDBITE(French): EMMANUEL MACRON, French President 
Only if we join forces together will we beat this pandemic, and we need WHO for her irreplaceable coordinating role, for her scientific expertise, for her knowledge of the situation on the ground."
SOUNDBITE(Germany): ANGELA MERKEL, German Chancellor
"The WHO is a legitimate world organization for the area of health. We should continue to work to improve the procedures within the WHO, and we also look into its financing to ensure that it is sustainable."
Many countries agreed that COVID-19 vaccines should be a global public good that will be made available to everyone.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, chairperson of the African Union, called for more assistance, debt relief and medical supplies in particular, for the developing countries. 
SOUNDBITE(English): CYRIL RAMAPHOSA,South African President
"Africa, is extremely vulnerable to the ravages of this virus, and needs every possible support and assistance."
To this date, more than 200 countries and regions in the world have been affected by COVID-19, with over 4.8 million confirmed cases reported to the WHO and more than 318,000 people killed worldwide. The pandemic has also triggered a global recession, and a lot of aspects of economic recovery remained uncertain.