WHO concerned about 'risk to life' in China amid COVID surge

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews  with AP
Health staff say hospital beds are filling up across the country as Covid cases in China soar.
Health staff say hospital beds are filling up across the country as Covid cases in China soar.   -  Copyright  NOEL CELIS/AFP or licensors

The head of the World Health Organization said Wednesday the agency is “concerned about the risk to life in China” amid COVID-19’s explosive spread across the country and the lack of outbreak data from the government.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency recently met with Chinese officials to underline the importance of sharing more details about COVID-19 issues including hospitalisation rates and genetic sequences, even as the pandemic continues to recede globally since it began in late 2019.

“Data remains essential for WHO to carry out regular, rapid and robust risk assessments of the global situation,” Dr Tedros said at a press briefing.

He said he understood why numerous countries have recently taken measures against travellers coming from China, adding “it’s understandable that some countries are taking steps to prevent their citizens”.

WHO emergencies chief Dr Michael Ryan said the testing protocols implemented by some countries were not a restriction against travel.

“It's not an excessive measure based on individual countries' risk assessment,” he said.

He noted that for the past three years, China has had some of the world's harshest rules regarding the virus. 

“The reality for China is that many countries (now feel) they don’t have enough information to base their risk assessment,” he said.