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Raab says China has some “hard questions” to answer about the coronavirus epidemic

Saturday, April 18th 2020 - 08:41 UTC
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Dominic Raab, deputizing for Boris Johnson said there will have to be a “deep dive” review of the crisis, including how the outbreak came about. Dominic Raab, deputizing for Boris Johnson said there will have to be a “deep dive” review of the crisis, including how the outbreak came about.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says China will have some “hard questions” to answer about how the coronavirus pandemic started.

The virus emerged in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019. Raab said Thursday the world will need to find out what happened in China in the early days of the pandemic.

Raab is filling in for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is convalescing after a weeklong hospital stay to be treated for COVID-19. The foreign secretary said there will have to be a “deep dive” review of the crisis, including how the outbreak came about.

He said the review of all aspects of the pandemic, including its origins, will have to be based on the science and conducted in a “balanced way,” and added that there “is no doubt we can’t have business as usual after this crisis.”

Raab did credit cooperation from Beijing in relation to bringing home stranded Britons in Wuhan and in supplying equipment to deal with the pandemic.

In related news in Berlin, almost two dozen countries have called for stronger international cooperation and solidarity in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Foreign ministers from Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Spain, Mexico and 17 other nations issued a joint statement describing the outbreak and its consequences as “a wake-up call for multilateralism.”

The group said it backed a call by the U.N. for an immediate global ceasefire, expressed its support for humanitarian efforts in poor countries affected by the pandemic, and said it would “commit, on a voluntary basis, to provide resources” to the World Health Organization’s efforts to curb the outbreak.

Following a virtual meeting of the group, known as the Alliance for Multilateralism, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned that U.S. moves to withdraw from the arena of international cooperation could boost those “who don’t share our values, the values of liberal democracy.”

Asked about President Donald Trump’s recent decision to cut funding for the WHO, Maas said Germany would welcome talks between the U.N. health agency and American officials “so that a way out of this situation can be sought.”

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