ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Coronavirus

World needs to know origins of COVID-19, Australia PM tells UN

Amid row with China, Morrison says inquiry would ease pandemic threat

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks in a prerecorded message that was played during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 25.   © AP

SYDNEY (Reuters) -- The world's nations must do all they can to understand the origins of COVID-19, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday, comments that could worsen tensions with China.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Morrison said an inquiry into the roots of the virus would minimise the threat of another global pandemic.

"This virus has inflicted a calamity on our world and its peoples. We must do all we can to understand what happened for no other purpose than to prevent it from happening again," Morrison said via a teleconference video link.

"There is a clear mandate to identify the zoonotic source of the COVID-19 virus and how it was transmitted to humans."

Morrison's comments came after similar comments by the prime minister earlier in the year soured ties between Australia and China.

At that time, he led global demands for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19. China strongly rebuffed that move, with Beijing's ambassador to Canberra warning the inquiry calls could sour trade ties.

Since then, China has imposed trade sanctions on Australia. It suspended some beef imports on a technicality and effectively blocked a A$439 million ($308.5 million) trade in barley by slapping tariffs of 80.5% on the Australian import. China has also launched an anti-dumping probe into Australian wine imports.

Meanwhile, Australia called on all nations to share a COVID-19 vaccine should one be developed.

Australia earlier this year signed a vaccine agreement with AstraZeneca, with the first batches scheduled to be delivered in January 2021 if trials prove successful.

Australia has said it will share supplies with smaller Pacific Island nations.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends October 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more