Saturday, 18 April 2020



Australia calls for independent inquiry into origins of coronavirus 

 Jamie Smyth in Sydney Australia has called for an independent, international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus in Wuhan and signalled its relationship with China will change in the wake of the deadly pandemic. The move comes amid mounting international pressure on Beijing over its perceived lack of transparency about the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, which has killed more than 158,000 people worldwide. Marise Payne, Australia’s foreign minister, said on Sunday Canberra shared some of US President Donald Trump’s concerns about the World Health Organization’s performance in handling the crisis, which meant it was not the right body to carry out such an inquiry. “We need to know the sorts of details that an independent review would identify for us about the genesis of the virus, about the approaches to dealing with it, and addressing the openness with which information was shared, about interaction with the WHO and interaction with other international leaders,” she said. Ms Payne, pictured, said nations needed to come together to agree on a review mechanism and show a willingness to be transparent. She cited international human rights investigations as a possible model. There is growing pressure on Beijing to support an independent inquiry into the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan following tough criticism by the US and UK of its handling of the crisis. Richard McGregor, an analyst at Lowy Institute, a Sydney think-tank, said the ruling Communist party in China would never accept an independent or outside inquiry into the origins of the virus and the early missteps in failing to stop its spread. “It is not something that the party would ever accept – too many echoes of historic humiliations and the like – but they might try to do something on their own,” he said. “The demands for answers about a cover-up in China won’t stop and so far Beijing’s attempts to bat them back haven’t worked.” Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window)

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