China will have to answer hard questions on coronavirus outbreak: UK foreign minister

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab speaks at the daily coronavirus disease (COVID-19) news conference at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain April 16, 2020. Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - China will have to answer hard questions on how the coronavirus outbreak happened and on whether it could have been prevented, British foreign secretary Dominic Raab said on Thursday.

“There absolutely needs to be a very very deep dive after-the-event review of the lessons, including on the outbreak of the virus... it needs to be driven by the science,” Raab said, adding that the pandemic had shown the value of international co-operation and that Britain had worked well with China on repatriation of citizens and procurement.

“There’s no doubt: we can’t have business as usual after this crisis, and we’ll have to ask the hard questions about how it came about and about how it could’ve been stopped earlier,” Raab said, asked about a possible future “reckoning” with China.

Reporting by Andy Bruce and William James, writing by Alistair Smout