The White House announced that the U.S., along with Germany, Indonesia, Belize, and Senegal, will co-host the second COVID-19 Global Summit on May 12. The event aims to end the pandemic and prepare for future health threats. So far, China hasn’t confirmed its attendance.

The White House said, “the emergence and spread of new variants, like Omicron, have reinforced the need for a strategy aimed at controlling COVID-19 worldwide. We must prepare now to build, sustain, and finance the global capacity we need, not only for emerging COVID-19 variants, but also future health crises.”

On April 19, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that Beijing was aware of the event but neither confirmed nor declined to attend the meeting.

George Magnus, an economist, and co-researcher at Oxford University, claims Beijing is unlikely to participate in the pandemic summit. This is because it does not want others to criticize its “dynamic zero-COVID” policy.

He said, “The domestic situation with regard to Omicron has torpedoed China’s pre-existing credibility for COVID management.”

Shi Yinhong, an expert on U.S. affairs at Renmin University in Beijing, said China’s participation was “possible, but not likely up to now.”

Shi Yinhong said, “Although calls for an international inquiry into the COVID-19 origins have ebbed in recent months, criticism of China’s zero-tolerance is intensifying.”

Earlier last week, Nomura Holdings data showed that 45 cities in China are under lockdown due to the spread of the Omicron variant. This has weakened logistics networks while raising concerns about severe disruptions to the country’s economy and supply chains.

The majority of countries have elected to live with the virus. But on the other hand, China has chosen a different path to deal with COVID-19, putting its economy and people’s health at risk.

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