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COVID-19: Europe’s death toll passes 100,000, as Australia calls for probe into WHO, China response

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The death toll in Europe arising from the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 has passed 100,000 thus far, with Italy and Spain the hardest-hit countries in the continent, with death tolls of over 20,000 each, followed by France.

In the United States, New York reported the lowest daily death toll in more than two weeks with Governor Andrew Cuomo expressing hope the hard-hit state may now be “past the plateau”.

According to a tally by the John Hopkins University, more than 2.3 million people have been infected and more than 159,000 people have died from the deadly virus globally.

In a related development, Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, has called for an independent investigation into the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, including the World Health Organization’s handling of the crisis.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Trump accused of “fomenting domestic rebellion and spreading lies”

Canberra will “insist” on a review that would investigate, in part, China’s early response to the outbreak in Wuhan, the city where the virus was first detected last year, Payne says in an interview with public broadcaster ABC.

“We need to know the sorts of details that an independent review would identify for us about the genesis of the virus, about the approaches to dealing with it [and] addressing the openness with which information was shared,” she says.

Payne adds that the fallout from the pandemic may change the relationship between Australia and China “in some ways”, with her concern around Beijing’s transparency now “at a very high point”.

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