London [UK]: After being warned that China could be hiding the real figures related to coronavirus, the UK has taken a hard-line approach towards Beijing which would see no more "business as usual" between the two countries.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, while addressing a daily COVID-19 press briefing here, said that there would be no more "business as usual" between China and the UK whilst Britain takes a "deep dive" review of the spread of the virus and if it could have been controlled at the earliest, writes Sky News in a detailed report on UK's new hard approach towards China.
Raab said: "There is no doubt that we can't have business as usual after this crisis, and we will have to ask the hard questions about how it came about and how it couldn't have been stopped earlier." He added: "I think there absolutely needs to be a very, very deep dive after the event review of the lessons including the outbreak of the virus, and I don't think we can flinch from that at all, it needs to be driven by the science." These comments from the UK Foreign Secretary came after many western countries including the United States questioned the origin of the virus from a Chinese lab researching diseases in bats, as reported by Sky News.
Raab, who is deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he recovers from the coronavirus, said that although the UK and China had good cooperation in the procurement of medical equipment and return of nationals. However, hard questions will be asked on the origin and spread of the disease from China, Sky News writes.
The Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee had also warned recently that the propaganda and disinformation push from Beijing was costing lives and slowing the battle against COVID-19, Sky News writes.
The committee said that China should have played a central role in the collection of data on the spread of the virus as it first originated in China's backyard itself. The committee has also called the UK government to "confront and rebut" China's disinformation campaign, Sky News reported.
The committee has also brought to light the case of Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang, who first raised alarms about the disease but was pressurised by the Chinese authorities to confess that he was "making false statements." Wenliang died of coronavirus in February.
Certain senior Members of Parliament have also asked the Johnson government to redraw the country's foreign relations in view of the lies and misinformation from China over the coronavirus.
These members have also questioned the deal signed between the UK government and Chinese tech giant Huawei to build a "small yet significant" part of the UK's next-gen communication.
Many Western countries are asking questions from China on the origins, real numbers and other vital information on the novel coronavirus that could have been stopped at the earliest.
As on Friday, the UK has 104,150 confirmed cases of coronavirus and at least 13,759 people have succumbed to the disease in the country.