Australia

Australia backs new EU motion for an investigation into China's coronavirus response

The government supports a EU motion for an investigation into the origins of the COVID-19. (AAP)

The Morrison government is backing a European Union motion for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says the Morrison government supports a European Union motion for an independent investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 in China.

The government has has called for such an inquiry for some weeks, sparking a harsh response from China, Australia's number one trading partner.

"We support the EU motion which includes an independent investigation, regulatory work on wet markets and also the potential for independent inspection powers," Mr Hunt told Sky News on Sunday.

US President Donald Trump has also pushed for an investigation into China's handling of the outbreak.
US President Donald Trump has also pushed for an investigation into China's handling of the outbreak.
AP

Australia was one of the first countries to call for an international probe into the origins and spread of coronavirus. 

The call has drawn sharp criticism from China, which has accused Mr Morrison's government of taking instructions from the United States.

Last month, China's embassy in Canberra accused Australian politicians of acting as the mouthpiece of US President Donald Trump, insisting "they are keen to parrot what those Americans have asserted and simply follow them in staging political attacks on China".

Australia sought support for an investigation into the coronavirus outbreak in phone calls with Mr Trump, however other powers such as France and Britain have warned against laying blame for the pandemic. 

That position has somewhat changed with the EU now the formal backers of a probe into the virus. 

Australia has also pushed for the WHO to be given powers, similar to international weapons inspectors, to enter a country to investigate an outbreak without having to wait for consent. 

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others.

Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits. Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store. SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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