62 nations have come together to co-sponsor a motion calling for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus, in a move that is expected to anger China. 

Australia secured strong global backing for an independent inquiry into the Covid-19 pandemic at the World Health Assembly, where a new draft resolution was backed by 62 nations including India, Japan, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Indonesia, Russia, and every one of the 27 EU member states.

The motion demands that WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus “initiate at the earliest appropriate moment … a stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of the global response to the outbreak.

In particular, it seeks an inquiry into the actions of the WHO and its “timeline” of the pandemic.

The support from so many nations for the motion will infuriate the Chinese government, which has threatened Australia with economic boycotts over the Morrison government’s insistence on an inquiry.

The Australian government said the world needed answers to learn and protect its citizens. “There is positive support for an independent review into the pandemic to help the world learn the lessons necessary to protect global health,” Senator Marise Payne told The Australian.

“This is about collaborating to equip the international community to better prevent or counter the next pandemic and keep our citizens safe.”

China and Australia have been engaged in an escalating war of words regarding the virus. Commentators observe that China has been furiously opposed to any investigation which seeks to determine the ­origins of the coronavirus and how it spread. The influence of China over the WHO and its concealment of the virus during its initial outbreak  has also been questioned.