Following months of devastation around the globe as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we may finally learn more about COVID-19’s origins. The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that a team of 10 international scientists will travel to the Chinese city of Wuhan in January to investigate how the virus emerged.
Until now, the Chinese Government has been reluctant to agree to an independent inquiry. It has taken the WHO many months of negotiations to be allowed access to the city.
The Investigation Doesn’t Intend to Blame China
Fabian Leendertz of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute told the BBC that the aim of the inquiry is to try to reduce the risk of a future pandemic, and not to apportion blame. Despite this, it is fair to say that many world leaders believe China is responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak and an insufficient immediate response to it, particularly US President Donald Trump.
The coronavirus pandemic has divided the political spectrum across the globe, with politicians, experts and voters divided over how long lockdown should continue to last for, and whether such a measure was necessary in the first place. Nonetheless, the findings of the WHO’s investigation will bring peace of mind to billions of citizens around the world who are angry and confused about the coronavirus’s origins, and the devastating impact it has had upon their lives.
From the beginning, many contrasting theories have emerged about how the virus started. It was originally traced by some scientists and media outlets to a so-called “wet market” in Wuhan, Hubei province, and it was suggested that this was where COVID-19 made the jump from animals to humans.
Questions About the True Origin of COVID-19 Might Finally be Answered
Research suggests that the coronaviruses capable of infecting humans may have been circulating in bats for decades. In April, suspicions and allegations emerged that COVID-19 might have leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan.
When the report’s findings are finally published, the impact that it will have on China’s reputation is likely to be devastating.
Recent reports in the Chinese media have suggested that COVID-19 could have originated outside of China, but analysts say that these claims have no foundation and that it is part of a campaign to prevent Beijing’s image from being further damaged abroad.
Prior to this investigation, the coronavirus caused many Western leaders to start taking the threat that China poses to global stability seriously, especially Donald Trump.
Even incoming US President Joe Biden has referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “thug” in the past.
Trump’s stance toward Beijing has transformed American politics for good, and it will be impossible for future presidents to ignore America’s rivalry with China.
China is a Clear and Present Danger to the World
Rather like the US, Australia has engaged in its own cold war with Beijing this year, and the country’s government was rather vocal in calling on the WHO to launch an inquiry into COVID-19’s Chinese origins.
Earlier this month, I wrote that the EU wants to form a new alliance with the US to confront the challenges posed by China. Yet the EU’s dependence upon Chinese investments proves that Brussels’ tough stance toward the Chinese Government will be rather limited, particularly when they are on the verge of signing a fresh investment deal with Beijing.
As of March 2020, the number of countries that have joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative stands at 138, and 38 of those nations are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, it is going to be hard for many countries to sever their ties with Beijing, considering how much of the globe depends upon Chinese investments.
It will be a relief for the global population once the coronavirus’s origins become public knowledge, but the greatest long-term challenge for many politicians is how to defeat China. Given how influential Beijing is, that is going to be easier said than done.