Global health leaders are set to push for an independent review of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic at the UN’s World Health Assembly.

Monday’s virtual meeting brings together envoys from 194 member states of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO will face questions on how it dealt with the coronavirus pandemic.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has defended his country’s actions during the outbreak, spoke during Monday’s opening ceremony.

He said China had acted “with openness and transparency” and insisted that any investigation should happen after it was brought under control.

In other opening remarks, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres encouraged member states to follow the WHO’s recommendations.

“Different countries have followed different, sometimes contradictory strategies and we are all paying a heavy price,” he said.

The two-day assembly – an annual meeting that reviews the work of the UN’s health agency – comes amid recriminations between the US and China over the virus.

The US has already stopped its funding for the agency and is promoting its own vaccine programme.

More than 4.5 million people have been infected and more than 300,000 have died since the virus emerged in China in December.


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