MELBOURNE:. Australia added to growing pressure on China over its handling of the novel coronavirus, questioning its transparency and demanding an international investigation into the origins of the virus and how it spread.
The coronavirus is believed to have emerged in a market selling wildlife in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has spread around the world infecting some 2.3 million people and killing 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”.
“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.”
China dismissed as groundless Australia’s questioning of how Beijing handled the coronavirus pandemic, saying it had been open and transparent, despite growing scepticism about the accuracy of its official death toll.
“China expresses deep concern and resolute opposition to this,” Geng Shuang told reporters during a daily briefing.