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Canada wants 'robust' investigation into origins of COVID-19: Health Minister Hajdu

Last Updated Jun 14, 2021 at 4:38 pm EDT

Health Minister Patty Hajdu says Canada will work with its international partners to make sure there is a “robust” and ongoing investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus.

The communique that emerged from the G7 summit in Cornwall, U.K., this weekend called for another investigation by the World Health Organization into how the pandemic began.

Once dismissed by most public health experts and government officials, the notion that COVID-19 leaked accidentally from a Chinese lab is now under a new U.S. investigation ordered by President Joe Biden, which is also exploring whether the virus jumped from animals to humans.

The Conservatives have been pushing the Liberal government to hand over documents they argue could shed light on that investigation, involving two scientists escorted out of the high-security National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg in 2019 and then fired this January.

One of those scientists, Xiangguo Qiu, had earlier been responsible for a shipment of Ebola and Henipah viruses to China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, but the Public Health Agency of Canada has said those events are unrelated.

Hajdu is set to appear alongside top officials at the special committee on Canada-China relations tonight, where they will be grilled over the issue and a decision by the Liberal government to hand over related documents to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2021.

The Canadian Press