WHO DG Tedros Engages Chinese President Xi In Coronavirus Response; Xi Calls Outbreak ‘Grim And Complex’

Bloomberg: As Pandemic Looms, World’s Top Disease Fighter Engages Xi
“…[WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus] is also engaged in a delicate diplomatic dance with a Chinese government that’s sensitive to perceived slights and a big financial supporter of countries across Africa, including Ethiopia, where he also served as foreign minister and a high-ranking member of its former ruling coalition. Tedros needs the support of China’s all-powerful President Xi Jinping to maintain on-the-ground access for the world’s best infectious disease experts. Xi, meanwhile, is facing public anger over his government’s handling of the crisis and has bristled at foreign criticism…” (Lauerman, 2/23).

The Hill: Xi defends China’s efforts to stop ‘grim and complex’ coronavirus epidemic
“Chinese President Xi Jinping defended China’s efforts to contain the ‘grim and complex’ coronavirus epidemic in the country Sunday. … Xi reportedly said during the conference that the Communist Party’s response to the ‘still grim and complex’ epidemic was ‘timely and effective,’ despite criticism from the public that officials did not act fast enough…” (Coleman, 2/23).

South China Morning Post: Coronavirus is China’s fastest-spreading public health crisis, President Xi Jinping says
“…[Xi] said that controlling the outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and the wider province of Hubei as well as preventing the epidemic from spreading to Beijing, China’s political center, were the country’s top two strategic goals. … This meeting came a day before the Standing Committee of China’s top legislative body, the National People’s Congress, is due to consider delaying the annual meeting of the parliamentary session, originally expected to get under way on March 5. The NPC Standing Committee will also consider measures to curb practices that may have contributed to the virus’s transmission to humans, including a ban on the wildlife trade and the consumption of game meat…” (Zheng, 2/23).

Additional coverage of China’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the virus’s impact in China is available from the AP, New York Times, Reuters, STAT, and Washington Post.