A push by the US State Department to include the phrase “Wuhan virus” in a joint statement with other Group of Seven members following a meeting of foreign ministers on coronavirus on Wednesday was rejected, resulting in separate statements and division in the group.
“What the State Department has suggested is a red line,” a European diplomat said. “You cannot agree with this branding of this virus and trying to communicate this.”
The proposed draft statement by the United States also blamed China for the pandemic’s spread, the diplomat told CNN.
Although the World Health Organization officially has dubbed the illness Covid-19 or coronavirus, a 12-paragraph draft statement circulated by the US among the G7 ministers referred to it as the “Wuhan virus.” Because the US holds the presidency for the international coalition — which also includes the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada — it was responsible for penning the draft joint statement.
As a result, several of the member nations released their own statements following the foreign ministers’ meeting, which was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.