In Geneva, a spokesperson for the WHO confirmed to journalists in Geneva that Chinese scientists had been invited to participate in a meeting of the Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19.
The 30-strong expert group was formed in June 2020 to advise the UN health agency and Member States on coronavirus mutations and variants. The group’s last meeting was in October.
In an earlier statement, WHO said that Chinese scientists had been invited to present detailed data on viral sequencing to the expert meeting at WHO headquarters in Geneva.
The development follows a “high-level” encounter last Friday between the WHO and Chinese health officials, who were asked to share further information about China’s COVID strategy.
WHO in particular called on China to strengthen viral sequencing, clinical management and impact assessment of the COVID surge.
Tedros stresses ‘importance of transparency’
In a tweet last Friday night, the UN agency’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that his team had “again stressed the importance of transparency, and regular sharing of data to formulate accurate risk assessments and to inform effective response.”
In addition to offering the UN health agency’s support in these areas, the WHO also offered to help counter vaccine hesitancy in China, where there has been a reported move away from the longstanding “zero COVID” policy.
WHO stressed the importance of monitoring and the timely publication of data to help China and the global community formulate accurate risk assessments.