China’s stringent zero-COVID policies are not able to contain the current omicron variant because of the highly infectious nature, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) in a press conference on Tuesday 17 May. But the WHO also added each country can make its own decisions, even when they do not make sense according to scientific evidence, reports AP.
At a media briefing on Tuesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described China’s “zero-COVID” strategy as “not sustainable” after similar remarks last week drew sharp criticism from China.
“We know the virus better and we have better tools, including vaccines, so that’s why the handling of the virus should actually be different from what we used to do at the start of the pandemic,” Tedros said. He added that the virus had changed significantly since it was first identified in Wuhan in late 2019, when China largely stopped its spread with lockdowns.
Tedros said the WHO had repeatedly advised Chinese officials about their recommended COVID containment strategies, but that “regarding their choice of policies, it is up to every country to make that choice.”