Dozens Of Countries Back Australia's Call For An Enquiry Into Coronavirus Origin
Australia has been calling for an independent international investigation into the origin of the coronavirus for weeks.
Officials want to know how it started and whether enough was done from the outset to prevent it from being spread across the globe.
That call for an inquiry has just received the backing of 62 countries.
India, Japan, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Indonesia, Russia and all 27 EU member states are among the countries who have signed the draft resolution calling for an impartial evaluation of Covid-19.
From the beginning, Australia has said this investigation isn't about pointing fingers, but intended to highlight what can be done in the future to prevent another pandemic from wiping out tens of thousands of people, destroying economies and forcing people into lockdown for months.
In a statement, Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne said: "There is positive support for an independent review into the pandemic to help the world learn the lessons necessary to protect global health.
"Australia and a significant number of countries are co-sponsoring the EU-led resolution, which includes a call for an impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation.
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"This is about collaborating to equip the international community to better prevent or counter the next pandemic and keep our citizens safe."
According to the ABC, the motion doesn't mention China or Wuhan and simply calls on The World Health Organization to be able to do a thorough evaluation to 'identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts'.
But Australia's barracking for this investigation has come at a cost. Tensions between Australia and China have risen, with threats of industry boycotts starting to gather ferocity.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters that Australia calling for an inquiry would 'disrupt international cooperation in fighting the pandemic'.
"Currently, with the pandemic still spreading across the world, the most pressing task is to put people's life and health first and work together to defeat the virus," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.
"At such a critical juncture, it is highly irresponsible to resort to politically motivated suspicion and accusation.
"We advise the Australian side to put aside ideological bias and political games, focus on the welfare of the Australian people and global public health security, follow the international community's collective will for cooperation, and contribute to the global cooperation in fighting the virus, instead of doing things to the contrary."
The World Health Assembly is due to virtually meet in Geneva today (May18) to discuss whether the independent inquiry will go ahead.
Featured Image Credit: PA