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MFA:China Hopes to See Comprehensive and Accurate Implementation of WHA Resolution on COVID-19

2020/05/21

At a regular press conference on 20 May, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that China welcomes the resolution on COVID-19 adopted by consensus at the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) on 19 May. China hopes the resolution will be implemented comprehensively and accurately.

Zhao noted that the resolution unequivocally recognizes and supports the key leadership role of WHO in COVID-19 response. It calls on member states to prevent discrimination and stigmatization, counter misinformation and disinformation, strengthen cooperation on the research of diagnostics, therapeutics, medicines and vaccines and the zoonotic source of the virus, and evaluate the work of WHO at an appropriate time. All these are in line with China’s position and meet the shared aspiration of the overwhelming majority of the international community. In light of this, China joined the consensus, and along with more than 140 countries, is a co-sponsor of the draft resolution.

Zhao said that on tracing the source of the virus, the resolution basically follows the wording of the recommendations issued by the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee for COVID-19 on 1 May. It strictly limits the scope of relevant research to identifying the zoonotic source of the virus, the intermediate hosts and the route of introduction to the human population, with a view to enhancing preparedness of the international community in the future. This is also a recommendation made by WHO and Director-General Tedros. Certain countries proposed prioritizing source tracing during the consultations, but the overwhelming majority of countries saw COVID-19 response as the most pressing task. They didn’t agree to make source tracing a priority and rejected the proposed wording. “It proves that politicization of this issue gains no support,” Zhao said.

He said that with regard to the evaluation of WHO response, the resolution decides that it should be initiated by the Director-General in consultation with member states to review experience gained and make recommendations for future work. WHO has previously made evaluations on its H1N1 flu and Ebola responses, a customary practice for the organization after a major epidemic.

“The resolution asks for a stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation. These four words—stepwise, impartial, independent and comprehensive—are very important as they indicate that the evaluation must not be monopolized by a handful of countries.” Zhao said that China hopes the resolution will be implemented comprehensively and accurately.

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