SYDNEY, May 18. /TASS/. Over 100 countries have backed Australia’s call for an independent inquiry into the origins of COVID-19, The Australian reported on Monday, citing the country’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne.
"There is positive support for an independent review into the pandemic to help the world learn the lessons necessary to protect global health," she said, as quoted by The Australian. "This is about collaborating to equip the international community to better prevent or counter the next pandemic and keep our citizens safe," Payne pointed out.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in turn, said that Canberra's push for an inquiry was not aimed at blaming any country. "It’s a pretty honest question with an honest intent and an honest motive," he noted.
The countries that voiced support for Australia’s initiative initially included Russia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and all members of the European Union. Several African nations joined them later, bringing the total number to 116.
The countries are expected to adopt a resolution at the 73rd World Health Assembly, which particularly highlights the need for an impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation of the WHO-coordinated international response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All 194 member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) and a number of international organizations have been invited to participate in the event.