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China Reports Latest COVID Situation in Meeting With WHO

HONG KONG/GENEVA (Reuters) – China gave a presentation on its COVID-19 situation in an online meeting with the World Health Organization and its member states, China’s national health commission and diplomats said on Thursday, as it seeks to fend off criticism about its recent reporting on the outbreak.

During the meeting Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention officials and experts from Southeast University reported on China’s latest COVID-19 prevention and control measures, its monitoring of mutated virus strains, vaccination efforts and the treatment of infections, China’s national health commission said in a statement.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reiterated the agency’s concern about the risk to life in China at the private meeting on Thursday afternoon Geneva time, a WHO statement showed. He added that four colleagues from the Chinese Center For Disease Control and Prevention were present to discuss the situation.

A WHO official said on Wednesday that China’s COVID-19 data is not giving an accurate picture of the situation there, in its clearest criticism yet of Beijing since it reversed its “zero-COVID” policy last month.

A diplomat who attended the meeting told Reuters that the Chinese representatives’ presentation lasted for about an hour and included information about vaccines and virus sequencing and was followed by a question and answer session.

“There was an effort on the China side to be proactive to allow an exchange of views,” he said. Several delegations raised transparency issues with China’s reporting about the extent of the COVID-19 outbreak, he added, without giving details.

The WHO’s 194 member states meet regularly to discuss global health matters and its emergencies chief Mike Ryan previously said that Thursday’s meeting was called to discuss the COVID situation globally, with a specific update on China.

A WHO spokesperson declined to give further details on what was discussed.

(Reporting by Meg Shen and Ethan Wang; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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