The US is ready to help China overcome a growing wave of coronavirus infections that threatens to potentially increase the number of variants worldwide, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday.
“We want to see China get this outbreak under control," Blinken told reporters at the State Department. "Anytime the virus is spreading or is moving around there is the possibility that a new variant develops, that variant spreads even further."
Blinken said the US has a "clear interest" in Beijing reigning in the wave, including economic interests, and stands ready to provide China with any health assistance it needs. Beijing, however, has not made any requests, he said.
"We're the largest donor of vaccines as you know, we're prepared to continue to support people around the world including in China, with this and with other COVID-related health support. China's not asked to date for that help," he said. "But again, we're fully prepared to provide assistance to anyone who asks for it if they think it's useful."
China is experiencing a dramatic increase in coronavirus infections after it quickly terminated its "Zero COVID" policy, which repeatedly ground the country's economy to a halt due to severe restrictions on public life.
World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday he is "very concerned" about the "evolving situation in China with increasing reports of severe disease."
"In order to make a comprehensive risk assessment of the situation on the ground, WHO needs more detailed information on disease severity, hospital admissions, and requirements for ICU support," he said, referring to intensive care units.
"WHO is supporting China to focus its efforts on vaccinating people at the highest risk across the country and we continue to offer our support for clinical care and protecting its health system," he added.