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World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a press briefing at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. Photo: COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

The World Health Organization agreed Monday to a call from over 110 countries for an independent review of the global coronavirus response after China backed the move, despite strongly rejecting an inquiry when Australia first proposed it.

Driving the news: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pledged during the World Health Assembly's virtual meeting to hold a "comprehensive evaluation" soon in response to a draft motion, co-sponsored by the African Group's 54 member states, filed at the talks. The probe won't examine the origins of the virus.

  • President Trump and members of his administration claim they have "enormous evidence" to support the theory that COVID-19 originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
  • The WHO has agreed, however, to examine "lessons learned" from countries' responses.

Of note: At the meeting, attended by 194 WHO member states, China's
President Xi Jinping pledged to donate $2 billion over the next two years to support coronavirus response efforts, particularly in developing countries. Trump announced previously the U.S. would cut WHO funding.

  • The conference paper that was backed by countries including all 27 European Union member states but not the U.S. named neither China nor Wuhan, where the virus was first discovered.
  • But it says that it's seeking to "identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts, including through efforts such as scientific and collaborative field missions."

Background: China accused Australia of doing the United States' political bidding when Prime Minister Scott Morrison first called for an inquiry last month.

  • Per Reuters, Chinese officials accused Australia at the time of being "keen to parrot what those Americans have asserted and simply follow them in staging political attacks on China."

Read the draft motion via DocumentCloud:

Go deeper: Xi accepts, while Trump rejects, invite to address WHO

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of the coronavirus review and developments from the WHO meeting.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Aug 26, 2020 - Health

Fauci says he was having surgery when CDC testing changes were approved

Anthony Fauci was in the operating room under general anesthesia last Thursday when the White House coronavirus task force approved the narrowing of CDC testing recommendations to exclude asymptomatic individuals, according to CNN's Sanjay Gupta.

Why it matters: Fauci, who had vocal cord surgery last week, told Gupta that he is "concerned about the interpretation of these recommendations and worried it will give people the incorrect assumption that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern. In fact, it is."

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: The end of the Omicron wave is in sight — Transplants rebound from COVID lull.
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden to announce plan to distribute 400 million masks for free — Government website for free COVID tests launches early.
  4. World: WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older.
  5. Variant tracker