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China must answer 'hard questions' about virus outbreak: UK foreign minister

French Macron Says Things 'Happened We Don't Know About' In China Virus Handling

Russian Says Problem Of Coronavirus Origin Should Be Addressed Cool-Headed

US"doing a very thorough investigation - Trump



UK and its allies will ask tough questions of China over the coronavirus outbreak, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Thursday, adding "we can't have business as usual after this crisis".

 Also, French President Emmanuel Macron said there were grey areas in China's handling of the coronavirus outbreak and that things "happened that we don't know about", speaking in an interview with the Financial Times published Thursday.

"We'll have to ask the hard questions about how it came about and how it couldn't have been stopped earlier," Raab said at a Downing Street press conference when asked about future relations with Beijing.

"Let's not be so naive as to say it's been much better at handling this," Macron said of China's management of the outbreak.  "We don't know. There are clearly things that have happened that we don't know about."

The United States and Britain took a tougher line on China, where the coronavirus outbreak emerged in December.

"We'll have to ask the hard questions about how it came about and how it couldn't have been stopped earlier," Raab said at a press conference Friday when asked about future relations with Beijing.

Raab is standing in for Prime Minister Boris Johnson who is recovering from COVID-19.

US President Donald Trump's administration is investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, saying it does not rule out that it came from a laboratory researching bats in Wuhan, China.

Chinese scientists have said the virus, which has killed more than 140,000 people worldwide, was likely transmitted to humans late last year at a Wuhan "wet market" that slaughtered exotic animals -- a longtime focus of concern for public health experts.

But The Washington Post and Fox News both quoted anonymous sources who voiced concern that the virus may have come -- accidentally -- from a sensitive bioresearch centre in the city.

Trump, asked about the laboratory theory at a news conference on Wednesday, said that "more and more, we're hearing the story" and that the United States was "doing a very thorough investigation."

Earlier on Wednesday, while speaking in an interview with the Kommersant daily posted on its website, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said "we must spot the origin of the novel coronavirus but we must do it cool-headed, leaving emotions aside."

Lavrov said the problem of COVID-19 origin should be addressed cool-headed.  "There are theories both about bat and about other animals, theories about military sports games in Wuhan that were attended by an American delegation, which lived in a hotel next to the notorious marketplace, and so on and so forth," he said. 

"Such things should be addressed without emotions, cool-headed. It is necessary to analyze facts to get a better understanding of the crisis genesis and to learn lessons from it to be more prepared for possible new pandemics, rather than to try to find in this flood of information only what can tarnish your competitor."

Russian Lavrov said he had heard the British and the Americans saying that "China must pay trillions to pay up for not informing others in due time."

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