EU and Russia urge China to allow independent inquiry into Covid-19 origins

The European Union and Russia joined more than 120 nations urging China to allow independent inquiry into Covid-19 origins ahead of a crucial World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting on Monday in Geneva. Among the States asking the inquiry there are also India, Japan, United Kingdom, Canada, Indonesia.

A draft resolution, tabled by Australia and the EU, calls to “initiate, at the earliest appropriate moment (…) a stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation”. It also calls for “scientific and collaborative field missions” to identify the “source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population”.

The EU’s Foreign Affairs High Representative Josep Borrell told The Sydney Morning Herald that an independent investigation was critical to help the world emerge from COVID-19. “To strengthen our defences against future pandemics, we also need a thorough, independent scientific inquiry into the origins of the crisis,” he said.

China’s foreign ministry says it is premature to immediately launch an investigation into the origins and spread of coronavirus which has killed more than 300,000 people globally. Spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters on Monday during a daily briefing that the vast majority of countries in the world believed the pandemic was not yet over.