Leaders of the Group of Seven nations called for a second investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, led by the World Health Organization, in a joint communiqué on Sunday.
“We . . . call for a timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO-convened Phase 2 COVID-19 Origins study including, as recommended by the experts’ report, in China,” the communiqué reads.
The Group of Seven comprises nations representing the world’s seven largest economies, although China has never been a member because of a relatively low per-capita income. The current group includes the U.S., the U.K., Canada, France, Japan, Italy, and Germany.
The call for a new investigation comes amid renewed scrutiny into the theory that the coronavirus leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. However, British prime minister Boris Johnson said “it doesn’t look” as if coronavirus leaked from a lab, during a press conference on Sunday. Johnson suggested that the origin of the pandemic was zoonotic.
WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for further investigation of the origins of the pandemic following a probe organized by the organization.
“Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy,” Tedros said in March.
The Group of Seven also addressed concerns over China’s actions in its Xinjiang province, where the U.S. has designated China’s treatment of the Uyghur population as a genocide, and in Hong Kong, where China has eroded the territory’s autonomy.
“We will promote our values, including by calling on China to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially in relation to Xinjiang and those rights, freedoms and high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” the communiqué states.