President Xi presents himself as `savior` at World Health Assembly

President Xi presents himself as `savior` at World Health Assembly”

Xi also told the assembly that China will provide $2 billion in global aid over two years to help with COVID-19 response and economic development in affected countries, especially in the developing world. "We have launched an initiative called Act A. The goal of that is to offer a massive support to research, to speed up the results of medical research, and to ensure that we can guarantee universal access to the tools we need to fight the pandemic", adding that any vaccine must "be a global public good".

"China stands for the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind", said Xi, adding that China takes it as its responsibility to ensure not just the life and health of its own citizens, but also global public health.

It will focus nearly exclusively on COVID-19, which in a matter of months has killed over 315,000 globally, and infected more than 4.7 million.

Mr Trump suspended USA contributions to the World Health Organization last month, accusing it of promoting China's "disinformation" about the coronavirus outbreak, although World Health Organization officials denied the accusation and China said it was transparent and open.

China says it has five potential vaccines in clinical trials.

On Friday, a Chinese official admitted that the country destroyed early samples of COVID-19 at unauthorised laboratories.

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Trump recalled his decision to ban travel from China in January, which he said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus opposed, but praised China's "strict domestic travel restrictions".

The assembly was set to discuss a resolution tabled by the European Union that calls for an "impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation" of the global response to the coronavirus crisis.

Xi called on the world to provide more material, technological and personnel support for African countries, saying that "helping them build capacity must be our top priority in COVID-19 response".

The World Health Organization has said an evaluation of the global response to COVID-19 will be initiated "at the earliest appropriate moment". Three of the new cases were listed as imported, and once again no new deaths were reported.

The proposal is meant to initiate "a stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation" of the WHO's efforts to coordinate the worldwide response to COVID-19, including the functioning of global health law and its actions within the greater United Nations health system.

During a virtual assembly, Dr Tedros acknowledged there had been shortcomings and told the assembly he welcomed calls for a review.

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