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China censors WHO chief for criticising zero-Covid policy

'When we talk about the zero-Covid strategy, we don't think that it is sustainable'

tedros ghebreyesus who reuters (File) WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus | Reuters

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus criticised China's zero-Covid policy. He is being censored on China's social media platforms like Weibo and WeChat. 

"When we talk about the zero-Covid strategy, we don't think that it is sustainable, considering the behaviour of the virus now and what we anticipate in the future," Ghebreyesus told CNN.  

China called on the WHO chief to stop making irresponsible remarks. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian defended the zero-Covid approach and said, “We hope the relevant individual will make objective and reasonable views of China’s epidemic protocol and policy and try to get a better understanding of the facts and refrain from making irresponsible remarks." 

Searches for hashtags #Tedros and #who on Weibo yielded no results. On May 6, President of China, Xi Jinping, in a speech to senior party members, said that the country will continue with its zero Covid policy and warned doubters of the policy.

Stringent lockdowns and a zero-Covid policy are how China has been dealing with the pandemic since it was first detected in December 2019.

“We have discussed this issue with Chinese experts and we indicated that the approach will not be sustainable...I think a shift will be very important,” Ghebreyesus said. He had faced criticism for being close to China, at the beginning of the pandemic. 

The Who chief's comments had been posted by the United Nation's official press account on Weibo, on early Wednesday morning. This drew sarcastic comments from Chinese users. China, on Wednesday, reported 1,847 Covid-19 cases.

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