‘US needs to work with China’

 KUALA LUMPUR: The United States needs to work with China to find a global solution in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, says prominent academician Prof Dr Jeffrey Sachs.

“This is tragic, since China has done an excellent job of suppressing the pandemic, and the world could and should have learned a lot more from China’s response.

“The United States should learn some good manners to work cooperatively with China, rather than trying to impose its will on that nation,” the head of the Lancet Covid-19 Commission said.

In an email interview, the Columbia University lecturer was asked to comment on the increasing friction between the US and China over the origins of the coronavirus and the pressure on the World Health Organisation to conduct another round of investigations to determine the source of the problem.

“Both governments have information that they should add to the investigation of the origin of the virus.

“Indeed, much of the research underway at the Wuhan Institute of Virology was a joint US-China project, with funding by the US.

“Therefore, there is no cause for finger-pointing by one country towards the other. We need scientific cooperation between the US and China in the search for the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19,” he added.

On how the synergy can be established and areas to focus on, Dr Sachs said “scientists from the two countries have actually been working together on SARS-like viruses”.

“The two governments should be cooperating transparently together. Both should be adding more information to the investigation. The US should acknowledge its role in the laboratory work, and therefore, its co-responsibility in investigating the possible origins of the virus.”

Dr Sachs said rich countries had also not generously shared their knowledge, especially on vaccines, adding that the major regions including the United States, European Union, China, India, Russia and Asean had not attempted any kind of coordinated response.

“The global financing system has favoured the rich countries, providing too little support to developing countries,” he said.

“The culture in many societies – such as the United States – has put personal behaviour ahead of the social good.

“In the name of ‘liberty’, Americans have failed to follow basic rules and protocols, and the disease has therefore been allowed to run rampant in the US.”

> See the full interview on page 11

Award-winning Jeffrey D. Sachs is an economics professor, best-selling author, innovative educator and a global leader in sustainable development. He serves as the director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University in New York, and is a University Professor, Columbia’s highest academic rank.

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