Australia has continued to voice its demand that the international community learn the origins of the novel coronavirus. The disease, which was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has infected over 32 million people across the globe and claimed close to 1 million lives.
According to Financial Review, Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the comments to the United Nations General Assembly, which was conducting its session through Zoom due to quarantine restrictions.
“This virus has inflicted a calamity on our world and its peoples. We must do all we can to understand what happened for no other purpose than to prevent it from happening again,” Morrison stated.
“There is a clear mandate to identify the zoonotic source of the COVID-19 virus and how it was transmitted to humans,” he added.
“Our aim is simple, to deny the virus the destruction it seeks to visit upon us, upon our lives and our livelihoods. Sadly, over 800 Australians have lost their lives to COVID-19. But in comparative terms we have fared better than most and we are grateful for that,” he concluded.
This is not the first time Morrison has made such demands. He also asked for a probe earlier this year — sparking major blowback from China as a result in the form of trade sanctions, per Reuters.
For example, the Middle Kingdom suspended beef imports “on a technicality” and placed a mammoth 80.5 percent tariff on barley, killing trade of the grain between the two nations and causing Australia to lose around $308.5 million in the process. In addition, China also began an “anti-dumping probe” into Australian wine imports.
Morrison’s latest comments will likely add to tensions, as the Asian powerhouse continues to flex its muscle in the Pacific.
Meanwhile, information about the source of the virus remains a topic of both conjecture and conspiracy. Most scientists believe it was originally animal-based, with bats as the most common hypothesis, before jumping to humans. However, others believe the coronavirus may have been created and escaped from a virology lab in Wuhan.
As was previously covered by The Inquisitr, both U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have suggested there is “evidence” behind the theories, though have not provided details.
For its part, China has begun to go on the offensive against international criticism concerning the coronavirus. During a different U.N. session, Chinese ambassador Zhang Jun lashed out at the United States over the issue, stating “enough is enough.“