April 17, 2020 / 1:26 PM / 2 months ago

We need to learn lessons of coronavirus spread: UK PM's spokesman

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain and other G7 countries discussed the need to learn the lessons of how the novel coronavirus came to spread throughout the world, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday.

Foreign minister Dominic Raab, who is standing in for Johnson after the prime minister contracted COVID-19, said on Thursday there could not be business as usual with China after the crisis, while recognising that Britain had worked well with China on repatriation of citizens and procurement.

Asked if China came up in a call of G7 leaders, the spokesman told reporters: “They obviously discussed ... the need to learn the lessons of how the virus came to be spread.”

“The virus obviously began in China ... We will want, as the foreign secretary said, to look very carefully with our international partners at the hard questions of why the outbreak happened, why it couldn’t be stopped earlier and what can be done to prevent it in the future.”

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Alistair Smout

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