GENEVA, May 16 (Xinhua) -- The upcoming 73rd session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) arrives at a critical juncture of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. It presents a valuable opportunity for the world to reaffirm solidarity in the battle to safeguard global health security.
In the past 70-odd years since the establishment of the World Health Organization (WHO), the international community has successfully eliminated smallpox and curbed the spread of several infectious diseases.
Global unity has played a key role in each successful bid to keep humanity safe, with governments and international organizations committed to multilateral cooperation within the United Nations (UN)-centered international system.
As representatives from governments around the world hold virtual meetings next week, they are facing the urgent task of addressing the COVID-19 pandemic which is endangering humanity's health.
If history is any guide, upholding global solidarity plays a key role in humanity's eventual prevailing over the coronavirus outbreak.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the elimination of smallpox, which was considered as the first, and to date the only, human disease that has been eradicated globally.
As WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said, the legacy of smallpox was not only the eradication of one disease, but also "the demonstration that when the world unites, anything is possible."
That same solidarity and coordinated international efforts are needed now more than ever to defeat COVID-19.
Unfortunately, as recently noted by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, "it is clear there is not enough humility, unity and not enough solidarity in the world."
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the WHO has been endeavoring to rally global solidarity in the COVID-19 battle.
Unfortunately, driven by their political agenda of scapegoating the WHO and others for their botched response to the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. politicians have distorted facts and launched a smear campaign against the WHO and other countries.
What the world recently witnessed -- the undue politicization and unfounded allegations against the WHO -- have created a toxic atmosphere and is anything but constructive to the much-needed global solidarity against the common enemy.
The upcoming WHA serves as a precious opportunity to make it abundantly clear that the WHO's leading role in the global fight against COVID-19 must be strengthened rather than weakened. The WHO was, is, and will remain the backbone of the current pandemic control.
In one of his speeches last month, the WHO chief warned that without strong national unity and global solidarity, "the worst is yet ahead of us." The international community should heed the warning and uphold solidarity in the battle against COVID-19 before it is too late. Enditem