China on Wednesday dismissed the World Health Organisation (WHO) chief’s criticism of its zero-Covid strategy and the remarks were scrubbed from the country’s social media even before the foreign ministry’s formal response.
China’s foreign ministry said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s remarks; calling Beijing’s “zero-Covid” approach unsustainable and urging an urgent policy shift given the nature of the virus were “irresponsible”.
The WHO chief said he was in discussion with Chinese experts on the need for a different approach in light of new knowledge about the virus.
“When we talk about the ‘zero-Covid,’ we don’t think that it’s sustainable; considering the behaviour of the virus now and what we anticipate in the future,” Tedros said on Tuesday.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, “We hope that relevant people can view China’s policy of epidemic prevention and control objectively and rationally; get more knowledge about the facts and refrain from making irresponsible remarks.”
“The Chinese government’s policy of epidemic prevention and control; can stand the test of history, as well as our prevention and control measures are scientific and effective,” Zhao said.
“China is one of the most successful countries in epidemic prevention and control in the world; which is obvious to all of the international community,” Zhao also added.
A United Nations post on the WHO chief’s comments was removed from on China’s Twitter-like Weibo on Wednesday morning; an indication how sensitive Beijing is about criticisms of its zero-Covid strategy.