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Stellungnahme des chinesischen Außenministerium-Sprechers: WHO findet keine neue Virusvariante in China. China lehnt deshalb diskriminierende Einreisebeschränkungen gegen chinesische Reisende ab.
2023-01-17 17:00

Question: At a recent press briefing held by the WHO Secretariat, a journalist asked why a number of European countries have implemented measures targeting travelers arriving from China where no new variant has been identified, while countries have not put restrictions in place for the US, which already has the XBB.1.5 variant. Do you have any comment?

Since the onset of COVID, China has been sharing information and data with the international community in a timely, open and transparent manner in accordance with the law. We have also continued to share the genome sequences of the virus from COVID cases in China with the WHO and via the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID), which has contributed to vaccine and drug research and development. According to WHO, the genome data of the virus prevalent in China share the composition of the sequences submitted by other countries which are collected from travelers arriving from China, and no new variant or mutation of known significance was noted. WHO Regional Director for Europe has openly said that the SARS-CoV-2 virus variants circulating in China have already been seen in Europe and elsewhere; the situation in China is not anticipated to significantly impact the COVID-19 epidemiological situation in Europe; and European countries’ precautionary travel measures should be rooted in science, proportionate and non-discriminatory. Multiple international technical institutions, including the European Centre for the Disease Prevention and Control, noted that the COVID situation in China is not expected to significantly impact other countries. 

Over the past three years since COVID began, almost all COVID variants and their sub-variants have been prevalent in the US, which means it is one of the countries that host the largest number of COVID variants. According to data released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the new variant XBB.1.5 is spreading rapidly in the US and has become the fastest-spreading variant in the country, causing more than 43% of infections. In light of the rapid spread of XBB.1.5 recently, WHO issued the first risk assessment on January 11, saying that XBB variants are the most antibody-resistant variant to date. With higher early growth rates and greater immune escape, the variants may cause widespread infections. Currently XBB.1.5 has been detected in at least 40 countries and regions. The European Centre for the Disease Prevention and Control issued an assessment saying that XBB.1.5 could become dominant in the EU/EEA as fast as after one month. The US needs to fully share its domestic COVID information and data with WHO and the international community in a timely, open and transparent manner, and take concrete and effective measures to stop the virus from further spreading.

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