China warned that it cannot return to "business as usual" with the international community after the coronavirus pandemic. UK First Minister of State Dominic Raab said the world would have to investigate how the outbreak started in China. The UK government has previously thrown doubt on China's claims about the outbreak

The UK has warned China that it cannot return to "business as usual" after the coronavirus pandemic.

UK First Minister of State Dominic Raab told a press conference on Thursday that the international community must investigate the origins of the outbreak in China.

"There absolutely needs to be a very deep dive on lessons including on the outbreak of the virus and I don't think we can flinch from that at all," Raab said.

Asked if there would be a "reckoning" with China after the crisis ends, he replied that: "There's no doubt that we can't have business as usual after this crisis and we have to ask the hard questions about how it came about and how it could have been stopped earlier."

He added: "We'll look very carefully with other international partners at how this outbreak happened."

Most scientists believe the coronavirus originated from a market in the Wuhan province in China.

However, sources in the UK government have reportedly examined the possibility that the virus may have accidentally leaked from a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan where scientists were researching viruses, according to a Mail on Sunday newspaper report.

"There is a credible alternative view [to the zoonotic theory] based on the nature of the virus," a member of the UK government's emergency committee of senior officials, Cobra, told the newspaper.

They added: "Perhaps it is no coincidence that there is that laboratory in Wuhan. It is not discounted."

The Mail on Sunday also quoted government figures as suggesting that the real number of cases in China could be up to 40 times larger than officially stated.

The UK government has also publicly thrown doubt on China's claims about the virus.

"The first case of coronavirus in China was established in December of last year, but it was also the case that some of the reporting from China was not clear about the scale, the nature, the infectiousness of this," he said.

A report by the UK Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee last month also accused the Chinese government of spreading disinformation about the virus' spread.

"Disinformation about COVID-19 has already cost lives," the committee said.

"It is essential that the Government issues clear and transparent messages at home to confront and rebut disinformation spread by foreign powers."