U.S., China positive on pandemic treaty idea: WHO's Tedros

FILE PHOTO: World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference organized by Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva Switzerland July 3, 2020. Fabrice Coffrini/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States and China have reacted positively to a proposed international treaty on pandemics, the World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday.

Leaders of 23 countries and the WHO on Tuesday backed an idea to create such a treaty. The WHO chief said that discussions to date had been more on an “opt-in” basis, although regional representatives had been invited.

“When the discussion on the pandemic starts, all member states will be represented,” he said. “From the discussions we had, during member states’ sessions, the comment from member states, including the U.S. and China, was actually positive and we hope future engagement will bring (in) all countries.”

Reporting by Stephanie Ulmer-Nebehay and Philip Blenkinsop