WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is prepared to help China deal with a surge of COVID-19 infections if Beijing requests assistance, the White House said on Wednesday.
John Kirby, the White House national security spokesperson, told reporters that China has not requested help at this stage.
“We have made that point that we are prepared to help in any way they might find acceptable. That was true back when the pandemic was raging, and that is true today,” Kirby told reporters.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters earlier this week that U.S. and Chinese officials had discussed COVID-19 and countries’ different response to the pandemic were discussed at U.S.-Chinese meetings, but gave no details.
“I want to give an opportunity for us to be able to have those conversations in sensitive diplomatic channels. And we’ll see what, if anything, comes out of it,” he said.
China Meheco Group Co Ltd said on Wednesday it signed an agreement with U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc to import and distribute its oral COVID-19 treatment Paxlovid in mainland China, as the country braces for a surge in patients after scaling back its “zero COVID” policy.
Pfizer already signed a deal in August for Chinese drugmaker Zhejiang Huahai <600521.SS. to produce Paxlovid in mainland China solely for patients there.
China began shifting away from the “zero COVID” policy just this month, after protests against the economically-damaging curbs that had been championed by President Xi Jinping. The change has spurred concerns about a surge in COVID cases.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal, Steve Holland, Doina Chiacu and Michael Martina; Editing by Alistair Bell)