British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Britain wants further investigation into the origins of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Speaking at the end of the Group of Seven (G7) summit in southwest England, Johnson said that while it doesn’t look as if this particular disease came from a lab, the world needs to “keep an open mind.”
Though the notion was once dismissed by most public health experts and government officials, the hypothesis that Covid-19 leaked accidentally from a Chinese lab is now under a new U.S. investigation ordered by President Joe Biden.
The G-7 leaders endorsed calls for a “timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based” further investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.
Many scientists still believe the virus most likely jumped from animals to humans.
Meanwhile, Italian Premier Mario Draghi said the dominant theme of the Group of Seven summit was how to respond to China and other autocratic governments.
Draghi said Sunday that China has the right to a great economy but that practices like coercive detention and using forced labor were out of step with the vision of the world’s democracies.
He said the position taken wasn’t particularly tough, but was rather realistic, in view of the necessity to cooperate on climate change, rebuilding the world after the coronavirus pandemic and other issues.
He also said his Cabinet would be reviewing the controversial 2019 trade and infrastructure deal Italy’s previous government signed with Beijing. Over U.S. and other objections, Italy in 2019 became the first G7 country to sign onto China’s “Belt and Road” initiative, Beijing’s global investment project that envisions overland and maritime routes connecting China with Europe.