UK Housing Minister Robert Jenrick told reporters there will be a time when Britain will need to “consider” the roles of other countries in the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic but, he warned, that time is “not now.”
Asked by a reporter about the possibility of investigating China’s role in the start of the pandemic –the virus is believed to have begun in the city of Wuhan– and even of seeking reparations from its government, Jenrick answered: “There will come a time when we will want to analyze the origins of the virus in detail and consider the actions of other countries, but that’s not now.”
While the statement leaves open the potential for a strained relationship between the UK and China, the tone is nowhere near as harsh as that of Britain’s ally America.
US President Donald Trump has recently made it clear on multiple occasions he sees China as partly responsible for the spread of the virus, blaming the Chinese government for not acting and warning other countries quick enough.
Trump even suggested on Thursday he has seen evidence that the virus began in a Chinese laboratory, a statement that has fueled conspiracy theories. Though he would not say what the evidence was, the president doubled down on his criticism of both Beijing and the World Health Organization, which he described as the “public relations agency for China.”
The UK will soon be easing back lockdown restrictions when Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduces a “road map” plan next week. The country recently celebrated hitting the milestone of administering over 100,000 Covid-19 tests and Johnson has promised citizens the country is on a “downward slope” when it comes to the pandemic. This is despite doubts cast on the method the promised number of tests was achieved, with a report by the Health Service Journal suggesting the government now counts all the tests that have been mailed out – but not necessarily completed and mailed back – in the official stats.
The country has suffered over 28,000 deaths from the virus and had over 182,000 confirmed cases.
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