By Haruna Gimba
A high-level meeting took place between WHO and China about the current surge in COVID-19 cases, to seek further information on the situation, and to offer WHO’s expertise and further support.
High-level officials from China’s National Health Commission and the National Disease Control and Prevention Administration briefed WHO on China’s evolving strategy and actions in the areas of epidemiology, monitoring of variants, vaccination, clinical care, communication and Research and Development.
WHO again asked for regular sharing of specific and real-time data on the epidemiological situation, including more genetic sequencing data, data on disease impact including hospitalisations, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and deaths, and data on vaccinations delivered and vaccination status, especially in vulnerable people and those over 60 years old.
The UN health agency reiterated the importance of vaccination and boosters to protect against severe disease and death for people at higher risk.
WHO called on China to strengthen viral sequencing, clinical management and impact assessment, and expressed willingness to provide support on these areas, as well as on risk communications on vaccination to counter hesitancy.
Chinese scientists are invited to engage more closely in WHO-led COVID-19 expert networks including the COVID-19 clinical management network.
WHO has invited Chinese scientists to present detailed data on viral sequencing at a meeting of the Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution on January 3.
WHO stressed the importance of monitoring and the timely publication of data to help China and the global community to formulate accurate risk assessments and to inform effective responses.