Former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Ramesh Thakur has warned in the Spectator of the coming massive expansion of the international pandemic bureaucracy and the powers of the WHO to press countries towards authoritarian public health measures. The WHO’s track record during COVID-19 hardly merits reward with further powers, he says.
Health includes mental health and wellbeing and is highly dependent on a robust economy, yet the WHO-backed package of measures to fight Covid has been damaging to health, children’s immunisation programs in developing countries, mental health, food security, economies, poverty reduction, social and educational wellbeing of peoples. Their worst effects were grievous assaults on human rights, civil liberties, individual autonomy and bodily integrity. To make it worse, in promoting these policies the WHO violated, without providing any justification beyond China’s example, (1) the guidance from its own report in October 2019 that summarised a century’s worth of worldwide experience and science; and (2) its own constitution which defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. The vaccine push has similarly ignored accumulating safety signals about the scale of adverse reactions, on the one hand, and rapidly dwindling efficacy after successive doses, on the other.
Euro-U.S. efforts, backed by Australia, to amend legally binding international health regulations and adopt a new pandemic convention would confer extraordinary powers on the WHO to declare public health emergencies of international/regional concern and command governments to implement their recommendations. WHO inspectors would have the right to enter countries without consent and check compliance with their directives.