Is the WHO mishandling the coronavirus response? | Inside Story

As the numbers of infected and dead grows around the world, Al Jazeera asked the question “Is the WHO mishandling the coronavirus response?”

More and more countries are reporting cases of the coronavirus.

The World Health Organization is worried that some of the new infections appear to have no direct link to China, where the outbreak was first reported in December.

New deaths have been reported in Iran and Italy, and the number of infected people has doubled in South Korea.

The head of the WHO is warning the window of opportunity to contain the virus globally is narrowing.

The UN agency has been criticised for being slow to act on this epidemic, as well as previous health crises.

Should the WHO change its approach?

Presenter: Nastasya Tay

Guests:

Margaret Harris – Spokeswoman for the World Health Organization

Peter Hotez – Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine

Muhammad Munir – Lecturer in Biomedicine at Lancaster University

Al Jazeera YouTube Channel

WHO is short for World Health Organization.

This story was published on February 22 2020, by Al Jazeera’s “Inside Story” show.

In This Story: Iran

Iran, also called Persia, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. Its central location in Eurasia and proximity to the Strait of Hormuz give it significant geostrategic importance. Tehran is the capital and largest city.

Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BC. The Iranian Revolution established the current Islamic Republic in 1979.

Iran’s political system combines elements of a presidential democracy and an Islamic theocracy. Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, OIC, and OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power and has large reserves of fossil fuels — including the world’s largest natural gas supply and the third largest proven oil reserves.

The country’s rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Historically a multi-ethnic country, Iran remains a pluralistic society comprising numerous ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris, Kurds, Mazandaranis and Lurs.

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    Italy is a republic in central Europe which forms a peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea as well as bordering France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily form part of the main territory of Italy. Italy is part of the Eurozone, having entered the common currency on 1st January 1999.

    The capital, Rome, is home to the Vatican as well as landmark art and ancient ruins. Other major cities include Florence, with Renaissance masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s “David” and Brunelleschi’s Duomo; Venice, the city of canals; and Milan, Italy’s fashion capital.

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    South Korea, an East Asian nation on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, shares one of the world’s most heavily militarized borders with North Korea. It’s equally known for its green, hilly countryside dotted with cherry trees and centuries-old Buddhist temples, plus its coastal fishing villages, sub-tropical islands and high-tech cities such as Seoul, the capital.

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    The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution, which establishes the agency’s governing structure and principles, states its main objective as “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.”

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