WHO director-general dodges question from Chinese media

Leader of global health body refuses to comment on China's white paper praising country's handling of outbreak

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Tedros gestures for colleague to answer question from Chinese state media. (Youtube screenshot) 

Tedros gestures for colleague to answer question from Chinese state media. (Youtube screenshot) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom on Sunday (June 9) pointedly avoided questions from Chinese media on how the East Asian nation has handled the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

During a press conference at the agency's headquarters in Geneva, Tedros was asked by Chinese state-run media China Daily to comment on a white paper Beijing released Saturday (June 7) to counter global allegations that it mishandled its outbreak. The lengthy propaganda document claims the Chinese government upheld a people-centered policy during what it refers to as a "hard-fought" battle and that its pandemic response has inspired the rest of the world, according to CNA.

When confronted with the question, Tedros appeared to smile awkwardly before gesturing for WHO Executive Director Michael Ryan to answer for him.

Instead of remarking specifically on China's white paper, Ryan emphasized that there are lessons to be learned from any country-level report. He said all actions taken by each country will require further examination in the future but that currently, the global community should focus on preventing a second spike in COVID-19 infections instead of "constantly going back" to evaluate issues that have already occurred.

In response to the U.S. withdrawal from the WHO, the global health body's technical lead expert, Maria Van Kerkhove, has promised that WHO officials would not cease collaborating with the American Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Meanwhile, she also warned that the pandemic situation continues to worsen and that the global crisis is far from over, reported New Talk.