G7 leaders call for investigation into coronavirus origins
Group of Seven (G-7) leaders on Sunday called for a renewed, “transparent” investigation into the origins of the coronavirus and pledged to give 1 billion vaccine doses to countries in need as their weekend of meetings in the United Kingdom came to an end.
President Biden joined the leaders of the U.K., Italy, Germany, Canada, Japan and France in signing a joint communique that addressed the group’s commitments on the pandemic, climate change, ransomware and corruption.
The leaders called for a “timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based [World Health Organization]-convened Phase 2 COVID-19 Origins study including, as recommended by the experts’ report, in China.”
Focus on the virus’ origins has become a point of interest in the United States as lawmakers and some public health experts have started to seriously entertain the possibility the virus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China. But Republicans in particular have criticized any WHO involvement, arguing the organization is unable to fully and fairly investigate China, especially when Beijing has refused to cooperate.
Biden previously ordered his intelligence community to further investigate the origins and submit a report in the coming months outlining the most likely origin scenario.
The G-7 leaders also outlined their pledge to deliver 1 billion vaccine doses over the next year to countries in need. Biden announced a day before the summit began in Cornwall that the U.S. would donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to other countries fighting the pandemic.
The pandemic hovered over the G-7 summit, which was canceled last year as the virus spread around the world. This weekend marked the first time the group of world leaders had gathered in person in well over a year.
G-7 leaders attended a working session on Saturday focused on the pandemic and how to prevent future outbreaks. Leaders from India, Australia, South Korea and South Africa joined the meeting, which included a presentation on the Pandemic Preparedness Partnership, a group assembled by the U.K. earlier in the year focused on how to respond to future pandemics.