Source: Reuters


Context: A special virtual  session of the UN Security Council (UNSC) on the novel coronavirus ended inconclusively with the U.S and China taking swipes at each other.  


  • The virus has already infected 1.6 million people world over and has claimed 95,731 lives.
  • The current president of the UNSC, the Dominican Republic, in response to requests by nine of the 10 non-permanent members of the UNSC called this special session.

U.S versus China:

  • Stance taken by USA
    • U.S accused China of maintaining opacity in data sharing and in helping other countries prevent the pandemic.
    • It said the Chinese authorities had hidden facts about when and how the SARS-Cov2 virus surfaced, and also put a lid on the extent of infections and deaths in the country before it spread globally.
    • As a result, the U.S is the most affected country today with almost 466,000 infections and 17,000 deaths.
  • Stance taken by China
    • It said the proactive steps taken by it like lockdowns,distribution of masks etc. has resulted in controlling the spread of virus to wuhan city and neighbouring regions only.
    • It has provided support of various forms to more than 100 countries like providing medical supplies, sharing experience, sending expert teams and assisting with commercial procurement.

Way Ahead:

  • Consensus among members is a key requirement to take up any proposal for discussion and, this in turn, has witnessed rising criticism against the UN for its lack of leadership on matters related to the pandemic. 
  • There is a need for complete transparency and timely sharing of public health data among all countries so as to collectively and effectively tackle Covid 19.

United Nations Security Council:

  • It is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN).
  • It is charged with ensuring international peace and security,recommending that the General Assembly accept new members to the United Nations and approving any changes to its charter.
  • Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations and international sanctions as well as the authorization of military actions through resolutions .
  • It is the only body of the United Nations with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
  • The Security Council consists of fifteen members.
    • The great powers that were the victors of World War II – the Soviet Union (now represented by Russia), the United Kingdom, France, the former Republic of China (now represented by the People's Republic of China), and the United States – serve as the body's five permanent members
    • These can veto any substantive resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or nominees for the office of Secretary-General. 
    • In addition, the council has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve a term of two years
      • Africa - 3
      • Asia Pacific -2
      • Western Europe and other - 2
      • Eastern Europe - 1
      • Latin America and Carribean - 2
  • The body's presidency rotates monthly among its members.