LONDON • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that world powers should clinch a global treaty on pandemics to ensure proper transparency after the coronavirus outbreak which originated in China.
Mr Johnson said on Monday that he would be keen on a global treaty regarding pandemics where countries agree to share data, amid British and US concern over access given to a World Health Organisation (WHO) mission to China.
Asked by Reuters about any action he wanted to take on improving transparency, Mr Johnson said: “I think what the world needs to see is a general agreement on how we track data surrounding zoonotic pandemics… and we want a joint agreement on transparency.”
He added: “I think one of the attractive ideas that we have seen in the last few months has been a proposal for a global treaty on pandemics, so that signatory countries make sure that they contribute all the data they have and we are able to get to the bottom of what’s happened and stop it happening again. That is the sensible thing to do.”
European Council president Charles Michel wrote on Twitter that he welcomed “the support of @BorisJohnson to work together on a pandemic treaty in order to improve global preparedness, resilience and recovery”.
As part of Britain’s presidency of the Group of Seven (G-7) rich nations, Mr Johnson wants to lead efforts on a global approach to pandemics, including an early warning system. But a statement ahead of a call by G-7 leaders last Friday did not go into detail about any treaty on transparency.
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said on Sunday he shared US concerns about the level of access given to the WHO’s Covid-19 fact-finding mission to China.
Asked by Reuters who he held responsible for any lack of transparency on the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Johnson said: “I think it’s fairly obvious that most of the evidence seems to point to the disease having originated in Wuhan.
“Therefore, I think we all need to see as much as we possibly can about how that might have happened, the zoonotic questions that people are asking. I think we need as much data as possible.”