Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said he hoped the motion calling for a review of the C-19 coronavirus put an end to the international blame game about its origin and the response.
“I think the most important thing, rather than apportioning blame to one particular country or another country, is that we get to the bottom of what has happened,” he said.
“And part of that is about the origin, where this virus came from – as we understand it, to be a zoonotic disease, spread from an animal or animals into humans – I think that’s an important component of it.”
Prof Kelly said he hoped the resolution would be successful.
“There is much that has happened with this pandemic since the beginning and I think, looking at the entire way that it has spread so rapidly around the world and what has happened in different countries in the ways that different countries have approached that problem will be part of that investigation,” he said.
The inquiry motion does not mention the origins of the C-19 coronavirus, but does call on the “actions of WHO and their timelines pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic” to be among the issues examined.
It also does not set out a specific method for an inquiry, suggesting using “existing mechanisms” for review as an option.
The review would then make recommendations to “improve global pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response capacity”.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne has also said she is hopeful the motion will pass, marking a major strategic victory for Australia.
“We are very encouraged by the growing levels of support for the comprehensive World Health Assembly motion,” she said.
The origins of the coronavirus pandemic, including which animals it passed through before infecting humans will be examined if the world leaders back the comprehensive draft resolution co-sponsored by Australia.
Ms Payne has confirmed the virus’ source would not escape international scrutiny, despite the wording of a motion demanding the World Health Organisation conduct a review of the coronavirus not specifically mentioning its origins.
Ms Payne said the draft resolution being put forward at the World Health Assembly by the European Union Monday night was a “very comprehensive piece of work”.
“It sets out a whole range of steps that need to be taken in relation to COVID-19, a review amongst them, an examination of the origins of the coronavirus itself as well,” she said.
A motion in the draft resolution requests WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus work closely with the World Organisation for Animal Health, the Food
and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and countries to “identify the zoonotic source of the virus”.
The motion also requests an examination of “the route of introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts”.
To discover its origins WHO should conduct “scientific and collaborative field missions” to reduce the risk of C-19 infection in animals and humans.
The EU draft resolution now has 116 co-sponsors, after the entire African Group and its member states joined the initial list of 62 countries, which included Australia, Russia, the UK and Japan.
The demand for an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of the international health response to C-19 is expected to be the most controversial motion.
It tasks World Health Organisation director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus with launching the evaluation “at the earliest appropriate moment” to review the “lessons learned” from the deadly pandemic.
The Australian government does not expect China to oppose an inquiry into the origins of C-19 coronavirus Tuesday, senior Morrison government sources said.
Have a healthy weekend, Keep the Faith!