European Union leaders join calls for full investigation into COVID-19 origins
European Union leaders joined calls Thursday for a full investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for the probe in a Brussels news conference ahead of the Group of Seven (G-7) summit in the United Kingdom, which is set to start Friday.
Michel said the bloc is “very clear” that “we need full transparency in order to learn the lessons” of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The world has the right to know exactly what happened in order to learn the lessons. Indeed, we will support all the efforts in order to make the transparency and know the tools,” he said.
Von der Leyen added that it is of “utmost importance” to learn the specific origins of the coronavirus.
“We have to know where did it come from in order to draw the right lessons and to develop the right tools to make sure that this will never happen again,” she said. “And therefore, the investigators need complete access to whatever is necessary to really find the source of this pandemic.”
The theory that the coronavirus may have originated from a lab accident in Wuhan, China — and not been transmitted from animals to people, as health experts have long believed — has been gaining traction in recent weeks.
Last month, President Biden asked the U.S. intelligence community to “redouble their efforts” to come to a conclusion on the disease’s origins, and gave them 90 days to report back.
The World Health Organization in late March released a report written jointly with Chinese scientists that didn’t come to a hard-and-fast conclusion but said the lab theory is “extremely unlikely.”
The EU is reportedly planning to support the United States’ efforts to investigate the origins of COVID-19 during the G-7 summit.
According Bloomberg News, the U.S. and EU plan to issue a draft statement calling for “progress on a transparent, evidence-based, and expert-led WHO-convened phase 2 study on the origins of COVID-19, that is free from interference.”
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