- The UK told China it couldn’t return to “business as usual” with the international community after the coronavirus pandemic.
- UK First Secretary of State Dominic Raab said the world would have to investigate how the outbreak started in China.
- The UK government has previously cast doubt on China’s information about the outbreak.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The UK has told China that it cannot return to “business as usual” after the coronavirus pandemic.
UK First Minister of State Dominic Raab told a press conference on Thursday that the international community must investigate the origins of the outbreak in China.
“There absolutely needs to be a very deep dive on lessons, including on the outbreak of the virus, and I don’t think we can flinch from that at all,” Raab said.
When he was asked if there would be a “reckoning” with China after the crisis ended, Raab said: “There’s no doubt that we can’t have business as usual after this crisis, and we have to ask the hard questions about how it came about and how it could have been stopped earlier.”
He added: “We’ll look very carefully with other international partners at how this outbreak happened.”
Most scientists believe the coronavirus originated at a market in Wuhan, a city in China’s Hubei province.
“There is a credible alternative view [to the zoonotic theory] based on the nature of the virus,” a member of the Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms, the UK government’s emergency committee of senior officials, told the newspaper.
They added: “Perhaps it is no coincidence that there is that laboratory in Wuhan. It is not discounted.”
The Mail on Sunday also reported that government figures suggested that the real number of cases in China could be up to 40 times larger than the official count.
The UK government has also publicly cast doubt on China’s information about the virus.
On March 29, UK Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove told the BBC he was sceptical of China’s official virus numbers.
“The first case of coronavirus in China was established in December of last year, but it was also the case that some of the reporting from China was not clear about the scale, the nature, the infectiousness of this,” he said.
A report by the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee last month also accused the Chinese government of spreading disinformation about the virus’ spread.
“Disinformation about COVID-19 has already cost lives,” the committee said. “It is essential that the Government issues clear and transparent messages at home to confront and rebut disinformation spread by foreign powers.”