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Australia calls for global inquiry on the origin of Covid-19 independent of WHO

Hemai Sheth | | Updated on: Apr 20, 2020
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Australia’s Foreign Minister, Marise Payne on Sunday called for a global inquiry into the origin of the coronavirus and China’s handling of it in an interview with ABC Insiders .

Payne had called for an independent review to help countries better understand the “genesis” of coronavirus. This will further help them in strategising how to deal with the virus. She also called for an independent review of the transparency with which information about the virus was shared, the report said.

"It will need parties, countries to come to the table with a willingness to be transparent and to engage in that process and to ensure that we have a review mechanism in which the international community can have faith," Payne had said as per a video snippet of the Insider’s interview as shared by Austalia’s Department of Foreign Affairs.

 

When asked if this review should involve the World Health Organization, Payne had said that Australia did share specific concerns about the WHO that the US has identified. However, According to Payne, it is more about an independent mechanism.

“I’m not sure that you can have the health organisation which has been responsible for disseminating much of the international communications material and doing much of the early engagement and investigative work, also as the review mechanism. That strikes me as a bit poacher and gamekeeper," she said.

Paye’s comments had been backed by Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt who had accused WHO head office in Switzerland of criticizing countries that had taken stronger measures in terms of border control in the initial days of the outbreak.

Hunt had said that there was “considerable criticism” from the WHO office in Geneva when the country had closed it borders for China from February 1, the Sydney Morning Herald had reported. "

Payne had further said that multiple issues, including trade affairs with China would need to be reviewed considering the changes in the world economy and international health security.

Australia has reported over 6,000 confirmed cases of the virus with the global tally surpassing 2.4 million.

Published on April 20, 2020

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