Australia on Sunday joined global calls for China to explain itself over its bungled handling of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, questioning its transparency and demanding an international investigation into the origins of the virus and how it flooded the globe.
The deadly infection is known to have been first isolated in a market selling exotic wildlife in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has since infected some 2.3 million people and killed nearly 160,000 of them, according to Reuters calculations.
Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, said her concern about China’s transparency was at a “a very high point”and reflected previous doubts in Canberra over the performance of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), as Breitbart News reported.
“The issues around the coronavirus are issues for independent review, and I think that it is important that we do that,” Payne told ABC television. “In fact, Australia will absolutely insist on that.”
She continued: “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.”
Australia’s push for China to come clean over its handling of all facets of the coronavirus pandemic followed the United States’ pause of funding for W.H.O. at the request of U.S. President Donald Trump, who said the organisation was promoting Chinese “disinformation” about the virus.
Trump also warned China that actions have consquences:White House
The W.H.O. responded by saying it regretted Trump’s decision and called for the world to pull together to battle the pandemic.
The U.S. is the single largest donor to the U.S. organization, providing more than $400 million in 2019, roughly 15 per cent of its budget.
It later closed its borders and imposed strict curbs on public movements while demanding any new arrivals immediately self-isolate for 14-days.
As of Sunday, there have been 71 deaths in Australia. The rate of increase in new cases has been below one percent for seven consecutive days – significantly lower than in most other countries.