A “lessons learnt” inquiry into the Covid-19 spread will need to be conducted after the crisis has abated amid questions about China’s handling of the outbreak, Dominic Raab has said.
The Foreign Secretary, speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference, said he thought the World Health Organisation would be at the forefront of any probe.
It follows reports over the weekend that China faces a “reckoning” over its handling of the outbreak, with criticism of its animal rights record and allegations of misinformation.
Asked whether China should or will face some form of reckoning when the coronavirus crisis has ended, Mr Raab said: “At home here, in terms of tackling this coronavirus crisis and challenge, we need to come together as a team.
Obviously after the crisis has abated, I think the time will be right to conduct a kind of lessons learntDominic Raab
“Internationally, we need to bring as many countries together if we’re going to collaborate effectively in tackling this crisis and stopping further waves.
“We had good co-operation with the Chinese government in terms of repatriating UK nationals from Wuhan, but obviously after the crisis has abated, I think the time will be right to conduct a kind of lessons learnt, and I’m sure the World Health Organisation will be at the forefront of that.”
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing earlier on Monday: “China is an important partner for the UK and has a vital role in the global response to the pandemic.
“The PM has been in contact with president Xi, they have agreed on the need for international co-operation to address this outbreak.”
Asked if China’s initial lack of clarity hindered the UK’s response, the spokesman said: “We have always said that transparency and accuracy about information about the virus is essential for an effective global response.
“The PM has been in regular contact with president Xi and they have agreed on the need for international co-operation.”