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20 Apr 2020

Covid-19: China rejects call for probe into coronavirus response

China on Monday (April 20) rejected Australia's call for a probe examining the global response to the coronavirus pandemic - including Beijing's early handling of the outbreak.

Washington and several allies have accused China of failing to adequately respond to the viral disease threat in the weeks after it was first detected in the central city of Wuhan late last year.


US President Donald Trump also cut funding to the World Health Organisation after accusing it of mismanaging the crisis and covering up the seriousness of the initial outbreak before it spread around the world and killed more than 165,000 people.

But Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the accusations disrespected "the Chinese people's tremendous efforts and sacrifices" in fighting the contagion.

"Any question about China's transparency in the prevention and control of epidemic situation is not in line with facts," Mr Geng told a regular press briefing.

He was speaking in response to a question about Australian foreign minister Marise Payne, who a day earlier said her country would "insist" on the probe into the response by Beijing and the WHO.

Authorities in Wuhan initially tried to cover up the outbreak, punishing doctors who had raised the alarm online in December.

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