Premature to immediately begin coronavirus investigation, says China

18 Mai, 2020, 14:24 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has requested talks on trade issues with his Chinese counterpart

The matter of the virus' origins has become a matter of contention between Washington and Beijing, with U.S. officials citing unfounded theories in what critics call a racist and cynical ploy to blame China for the pandemic.

China's Foreign Ministry said on Monday it was premature to immediately launch an investigation into the origins and spread of the coronavirus.

The ministry also said separately that President Xi Jinping will give a video speech for the opening ceremony of the World Health Assembly later on Monday.

The need for an investigation is also supported by New Zealand, Indonesia, Japan, the UK, India, Canada, Russia, Mexico and Brazil, and is to be put before the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday.

"And we're supporting a European motion that's going to the World Health Assembly and there's an independent oversight committee of the Health Emergencies Program within the World Health Organisation".

While they won't know for certain until the motion is called, Australian government officials do not expect Beijing to oppose the motion which now has the overwhelming support of over 100 countries.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been pushing for the inquiry while Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she was pleased to see it gather support.

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Barley exports were worth $1.5 billion in 2018 but dropped to $600 million in 2019 amid the drought and an Australian push to diversify into more markets.

Multiple world leaders have called on Beijing to allow a probe into the coronavirus outbreak, which so far has infected more than 4.7 million people worldwide and killed more than 315,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

More than 110 countries have backed Australia's push for an independent coronavirus inquiry which has caused a damaging rift with China.

The resolution calls for "scientific and collaborative field missions" to trace the path of transmission, saying this will reduce the risk of similar events. Some countries still suffering high daily death tolls from COVID-19 have said it is too soon for an investigation. "If those that we're prosecuting against don't understand it, we'll take it to an umpire for them to understand".

While the motion does not specifically mention China or the city of Wuhan, where the outbreak started past year, it does say the WHO should work with the World Organisation for Animal Health to conduct "scientific and collaborative field missions" and "identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts", ABC reported.

Canberra has insisted the call for the inquiry into the pandemic, which it says most likely originated in a wildlife market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, is not politically targeted at Beijing.

The Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control said on Sunday that it was no longer necessary to wear masks outdoors.


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