120+ countries support probe into origins of COVID-19 (June 5)

120+ countries support probe into origins of COVID-19 (June 5)

More than 120 countries from around the world support an investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The probe, coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO), will be an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of the international response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The inquiry won approval during the WHO World Health Assembly in May in Geneva, Switzerland.

“We stand with Australia and the more than 120 nations now who have taken up the American call for an inquiry into the origins of the virus, so we can understand what went wrong and save lives now and in the future,” U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo said at a May 20 news conference in Washington.

Scientists still do not know the origin of the coronavirus, although Chinese officials initially asserted it began at a wildlife market in Wuhan, China.

Although the Chinese government eventually signed on to the World Health Assembly resolution, the Communist Party has responded aggressively to calls for an investigation.

When Australia first called for an international investigation into the origins of COVID-19, the Chinese ambassador threatened a Chinese boycott of Australian goods, saying that if relations deteriorated, “maybe the ordinary people will think why they should drink Australian wine or eat Australian beef.”

Pompeo called such actions “economic retribution” for the simple act of asking for an independent inquiry.

China still refuses to share important information, Pompeo said. “Beijing continues to deny investigators access to relevant facilities, to withhold live virus samples, to censor discussion of the pandemic within China, and much, much more.”