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WHO approves inquiry into global coronavirus response

CNN logo CNN 6 days ago By Rob Picheta and Max Ramsay, CNN

Slideshow by photo services

The World Health Organization (WHO) has agreed to hold an inquiry into the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, adopting a resolution at its annual summit that has been backed by China, where the virus was first recorded.

WHO member states adopted the proposal with no objections during the World Health Assembly meeting on Tuesday, after the European Union and Australia led calls for an investigation.

The part of the resolution that had been considered contentious called for "a stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation" at "the earliest appropriate moment," with the purpose "to review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to Covid-19."

The resolution did not single out any individual country, but a number of nations -- including the US -- have accused Beijing of withholding information about the virus, which was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.

Xi Jinping et al. standing in front of a crowd: A news program shows Chinese President Xi Jinping speaking via video link to the World Health Assembly, on a giant screen beside a street in Beijing on May 18, 2020. - China supports a "comprehensive evaluation" of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic after it "has been brought under control", President Xi Jinping told the World Health Assembly on May 18. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP) (Photo by GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images) © GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images A news program shows Chinese President Xi Jinping speaking via video link to the World Health Assembly, on a giant screen beside a street in Beijing on May 18, 2020. - China supports a "comprehensive evaluation" of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic after it "has been brought under control", President Xi Jinping told the World Health Assembly on May 18. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP) (Photo by GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)

Chinese President Xi Jinping said Monday that he supports calls for an investigation into the handling of the pandemic, but insisted that any inquiry should wait until the virus is contained.

Xi defended his country's actions via video conference. "All along we have acted with openness, transparency and responsibility, we have provided information to the WHO and relevant countries in the most timely fashion, we have released the genome sequence at the earliest possible time, we have shared control and treatment experiences with the world without reservation, we have done everything in our power to support and assist countries in need," he said.

Beijing had reacted angrily to Australia's earlier calls for an investigation, accusing Canberra of a "highly irresponsible" move that could "disrupt international cooperation in fighting the pandemic and goes against people's shared aspiration."

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