Media event date: 
18 May 2020
Date published: 
19 May 2020
Media type: 
Statement
Audience: 
General public

GREG HUNT:

Australia recognises the suffering many countries are enduring, and we stand in solidarity with our front-line health workers, and express our condolences to all the families of COVID-19 victims. Our steps towards suppressing COVID-19 was swift, and we acted decisively, containing our cases to approximately 7000. As a result, we are now therefore able to carefully ease some restrictions.

But no single country or organisation can effectively respond to COVID-19 alone. We therefore thank the EU for its leadership, and are proud to co-sponsor the COVID-19 resolution. We are pleased to have support for an impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation of the global response. We need to learn the lessons from this pandemic and ensure we have the strongest possible global health architecture, with an enhanced stability to prevent and respond to future outbreaks.

This could include an examination of whether the WHO’s mandate and powers, including around inspection, need to be strengthened to ensure WHO members have timely access to critical data. And we need to protect against the global health threat posed by wildlife wet markets. Global efforts also need to prioritise finding a vaccine, and Australian researchers are playing a vital role in this.

Australia is providing development assistance in response to the pandemic, and WHO is an important partner in this effort. Inclusivity has never been more important as we confront the immediate impacts on communities and economies. It is essential that no populations or potential partners are excluded. Australia will continue working with the global community to end this pandemic, and strengthen health systems to protect against future pandemics.

The video of Minister Hunt's statement to the World Health Assembly is available to download.

Ministers: