China defends early actions on COVID-19 after panel report

A logo is pictured outside a building of the World Health Organization (WHO) during an executive board meeting on update on the coronavirus outbreak, in Geneva, Switzerland, February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA, Jan 19 (Reuters) - China on Tuesday defended its early actions taken to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, saying that it immediately notified the World Health Organization and took "the most comprehensive, thorough, strict prevention and control measures".

"Facing the unknown SARS-CoV-2, China immediately notified WHO of the epidemic situation, shared the virus genome sequence at the earliest possible time and took the most comprehensive, thorogh, strict prevention and control measures," Sun Yang from China's National Health Commission told WHO's Executive Board.

The remarks come a day after the independent WHO panel said that Chinese officials could have applied public health measures more forcefully in January last year to curb cases. read more

Some paragraphs in the interim report of the panel headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf are "inconsistent with the facts", Sun said.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, Emma Farge and Kate Kelland

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.