Leaders at the G7 summit will call for a new, transparent investigation by the World Health Organization into the origins of the coronavirus, according to a leaked draft communique for the meeting.
The call was initiated by Joe Biden’s administration and follows the US president’s decision to expand the American investigation into the origins of the pandemic, with one intelligence agency leaning towards the theory that it escaped from a Wuhan laboratory.
The broad consensus among scientific experts remains that the most likely explanation is that Covid-19 jumped to humans from an animal host in a natural event. An on-the-ground investigation by WHO experts earlier this year concluded that it was “extremely unlikely” the pandemic began in a laboratory.
According to Bloomberg News, which said it had sight of the communique draft, the G7 will also commit to deliver a billion extra doses of the Covid-19 vaccine over the next year to accelerate global protection against the disease.
The move may disappoint aid agencies that want most of the world’s 8 billion people to be vaccinated, but the communique will argue that the fresh commitment will dramatically increase the number of people in the developing world offered a vaccine.
Ahead of his arrival at the summit, Biden said the US would commit to buying 500m doses of the vaccine for distribution to developing countries.
The communique, which is often leaked ahead of the G7 summit, is due to be finalised on Sunday following a three-day meeting in Cornwall. At the 2020 summit in France, leaders abandoned publishing a list of commitments after then-president Donald Trump refused to sign the letter.
According to the Bloomberg report, this year’s communique will contain a pledge to tackle forced labour in global supply chains, including in the solar and garment sectors and where it involves the forced labour of minorities.
In a clear swipe at China’s leadership, the commitment also forces EU leaders, the US, Canada, Japan and the UK to take action against Beijing following the ill treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.
It will include a pledge to end unnecessary trade restrictions on vaccine exports along with commitments to shift to zero-emission vehicles, and a promise of new funding to tackle the climate emergency while also stressing the need to ensure the long-term sustainability of public finances once the recovery is firmly established.
It is understood there will also be a call for Russia to tackle groups within its borders that conduct ransomware attacks, use virtual currencies to launder ransoms, and carry out other cybercrimes.