The alliance of countries that have responded to Australia’s call to launch an independent investigation into what had caused the COVID-19 pandemic has grown to 116, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Monday.
Payne first called for a global investigation into the pandemic’s onset late in April, after Australian Interior Minister Peter Dutton urged China to release information about the novel coronavirus.
“I think what it illustrates is a broad view that given the experience of COVID-19 – more than 300,000 deaths, millions of millions of people around the world losing their jobs, including here.
“The job lose is the impact on economies from one corner of the globe to the other – that there is a strong view that it is appropriate to engage in a review of what has happened in the pandemic.
“The impact it has had, to ensure that we learn those lessons so that it does not happen again,” Payne said at a news conference.
In particular, a group of 54 African countries has joined the motion which has already been backed by 62 countries, including the EU member states, the UK, Russia, Japan, India, Indonesia, and Canada, among others.
Payne said a discussion into the matter would continue at the virtual World Health Assembly meeting, scheduled to take place later on Monday.
China first informed the World Health Organisation about an outbreak of an unknown disease in Wuhan, the capital city of its central Hubei province, in late December.
The pathogen was soon confirmed to be a novel strain of coronavirus with a human to human transmission, and the disease that it causes was officially named COVID-19.