US pushed to include ‘Wuhan virus’ in G7 joint statement

US pushed to include 'Wuhan virus' in G7 joint statement
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks after virtual Group of Seven talks to journalists, who are spaced out in line with COVID-19 precautions. Source: AFP
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Daily US Times: US State Department pushed other members of Group of Seven following a meeting of foreign ministers on coronavirus to include the phrase ‘Wuhan Virus’ in the joint statement. But the member countries rejected the plea, resulting in separate statements and division in the group.

A Europen diplomat said after the meeting on Wednesday: “What the State Department has suggested is a red line. You cannot agree with this branding of this virus and trying to communicate this.”

The meeting was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposed draft of the statement by the US also blamed China for the spread of the pandemic, the diplomat told.

World Health Organization has officially dubbed the illness Covid-19 or coronavirus, but a 12-paragraph draft statement circulated by the US among the G7 ministers referred to it as the “Wuhan virus.”

That happened because the United States holds the presidency for the international coalition — which also includes France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Japan — it was responsible for penning the draft joint statement.

As a result, several other foreign ministers released their own statements.

The statement from French foreign ministry referred it as “COVID-19 pandemic.”

It has also become clear that the push for ‘Wuhan Virus’ is not a priority for all members of the Trump administration. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin signed on to a G7 finance ministers’ statement that they were enhancing coordination to respond to the global economic, financial and health impacts ”associated with the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).”

A joint statement by President Trump and other G7 leaders after a March 16 video conference made no mention about China or the term at all.

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