An adviser to China’s government said he hopes the country will gradually loosen its strict approach to battling COVID-19 after Beijing hosts the 2022 Winter Olympics, an event that could facilitate more interaction between global leaders.

Henry Wang Huiyao, an adviser to China’s State Council and founder of an influential Chinese think tank, said closer collaboration between Washington, Beijing and the World Health Organization could help open up his country, which has largely isolated itself as it follows a "COVID-zero” approach to suppressing the virus.

Globally, infections are rising again as the world enters its third year with the virus that has killed more than 5.1 million people. Wang called for more coordinated action on controlling the outbreak.