WHO chief and Chinese premier hold Covid talks

Published: 07:43 PM, 5 Feb, 2022
WHO chief and Chinese premier hold Covid talks
Caption: WHO chief and Chinese premier hold Covid talks.
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The head of the World Health Organization said Saturday he met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang for talks on Covid-19, including on the stalled investigation into the pandemic's origins.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, visiting Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics, posted a picture on Twitter of the pair sitting with officials in a meeting room.

"Pleased to meet with Premier Li Keqiang. We discussed Covid-19 and the need for an aggressive effort on vaccine equity this year to vaccinate 70 percent of all populations," Tedros said.

"We also discussed the need for stronger collaboration on Covid-19 virus origins, rooted in science and evidence.

"I welcomed his support to strengthen WHO and discussion about a pandemic accord to advance global preparedness," he added.

Tedros is paying his first visit to China since January 2020, in the weeks after the first cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Wuhan.

After much delay, a WHO team of international experts went to Wuhan in January 2021 to look into the origins of the virus in cooperation with their Chinese counterparts.

Their March 2021 joint report concluded that the most likely hypothesis was that the virus jumped from bats to humans via an intermediate animal.

They deemed a theory that it may have escaped from Wuhan's virology laboratories "extremely unlikely".

The Geneva-based WHO has created a new team of scientists to revive the stalled probe and to investigate other pathogens that could potentially spur future pandemics.

But Beijing has balked at calls for further investigation on the ground.


Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.