Coronavirus: No comment from Jacinda Ardern on reports of leaked COVID-19 Five Eyes dossier

The Prime Minister has refused to comment on reports related to a leaked Five Eyes intelligence document alleging China initially covered up evidence of COVID-19. 

According to the report, which was obtained by Australia's Daily Telegraph, intelligence agencies from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the US and the UK - known as the Five Eyes - called China's handling of the outbreak "an assault on international transparency".

When asked on The AM Show on Monday whether there was any truth to the reports, Ardern said she would not discuss the matter.

"I don't comment on intelligence reporting," she said.

The 15-page report is said to highlight how China downplayed the outbreak when it first arose while acting to conceal all traces within China, including silencing doctors who spoke out about the threat and refusing to hand over live virus samples to scientists working on a vaccine. 

The country's actions led to the "endangerment of other countries", the Daily Telegraph quoted the report as saying.

The report is also said to indicate that some of the Five Eyes intelligence agencies believe the virus may have been leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Claims the virus originated from a lab in Wuhan have been controversial. US President Donald Trump last week said he had evidence giving him a "high degree of confidence" the virus had come from a lab, though would not say what that evidence was. His claim came despite comments from the Office of Director of National Intelligence - the top US spy agency - that it believed the virus was "not man-made or genetically modified".

The World Health Organization has also said there is "no evidence the new coronavirus was created in a laboratory".

An overwhelming number of scientists have also said the virus came from a wet market and was not man-made.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the Australian Government has concluded though the virus most likely arose from a wet market in Wuhan, there was a 5 percent chance it was accidentally leaked from a laboratory. 

Ardern said despite the allegations against China, she is certain a thorough investigation of the COVID-19 outbreak would be on the cards at some time in the future.

"What I've consistently said though, when it comes to COVID-19 the entire world's going to want to go back and look at what we all collectively could have done differently, could have done better," she told The AM Show. 

"Of course we need to learn from this so that we don't have this happen again. And so I do expect that we'll be a part of that and equally take a look at ourselves and the responses we've had domestically too."

When asked whether she thought China had been sufficiently open with sharing information about the outbreak and if it held responsibility for the virus spreading initially, Ardern would not comment.

"It's not for me to cast those judgments, I'm certainly not in the position to do so," she said.

"But I do think we will collectively look back at the ongoing transmission, the steps we all took and just our response as the globe."

Appearing on The AM Show last month, the Chinese ambassador to New Zealand Wu Xi confronted allegations her Government had not been transparent in how it dealt with the virus.

She said China had acted "swiftly" to learn as much as it could about coronavirus and make decisions based on scientific advice.

"COVID-19 is a new virus, little is known to the world before its outbreak, and it is fair to say that China was caught off guard," she said.

She said the virus could have happened "anywhere in the world" and questioned why her country was being "singled out".

"We still don't know where the origin of the virus is and we need to wait for the scientists to reach a conclusion," she said.