WHO backs Australia’s call for independent virus inquiry.
Australia’s push for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic has been vindicated globally with widespread backing of the probe, including from China.
More than 110 countries at the World Health Assembly on Monday night backed a resolution calling for an impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation of the international response to the pandemic.
Health Minister Greg Hunt says the probe needs to protect against the health risks of wildlife wet markets and include all populations or partners.
“We need to learn the lessons from this pandemic and ensure we have the strongest possible global health architecture, with an enhanced ability to prevent and respond to future outbreaks,” he told the assembly.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus promised a review would come “at the earliest appropriate moment”.
US President Donald Trump supported the probe by retweeting an AAP Newswire/SBS story on the motion.
We are with them! https://t.co/H7DRHXPJYb
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2020
Chinese President Xi Jinping also backed a WHO-led review and said his country had acted with “openness and transparency and responsibility” all along.
But his comments came as China’s commerce ministry announced all Australian barley imports would be slapped with tariffs totalling 80.5 per cent from Tuesday.
Trade with the country makes up half of all of our barley exports, and the tariffs come a week after China imposed a ban on meat imports from four Aussie processing plants.
Australian deaths rise to 99.
Australia’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 99, after a NSW man in his 60s with underlying health conditions, died after contracting the disease from a close personal contact.
Debate is also continuing over when to reopen state borders after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian hit out at her Queensland counterpart Annastacia Palaszczuk, who admitted their joint border may not reopen until September.
Ms Berejiklian said the sooner people could travel to other parts of Australia, the quicker the economy would recover.
The current COVID-19 figures.