Saturday 31 July 2021
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Wuhan lab created coronavirus, says US intel

Three Wuhan Institute of Virology workers had been hospitalised with Covid-19 symptoms before Beijing acknowledged the outbreak officially

China on 26 May accused the United States of “spreading conspiracy theories and disinformation” as the theory resurfaced that the coronavirus emerged from a Wuhan laboratory while urging Washington to open its virology facilities to scrutiny.

Led by the US, pressure is mounting for a new into the origins of Covid-19 after a World Health Organisation (WHO) mission to China, beset by delays and dogged by political baggage, returned inconclusive findings.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology has returned to the spotlight after a report in The Wall Street Journal, citing US intelligence, said three lab workers there were hospitalised in November 2019 with coronavirus-like symptoms, a month before the pandemic’s first officially acknowledged case.

The newspaper said researchers had collected samples seven years earlier from a mine in southwestern China, where miners had contracted a mysterious illness from a new, bat-borne coronavirus.

Repeating an earlier denial of the report, Zhao Lijian, spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, accused the US of “spreading conspiracy theories and disinformation such as a laboratory leak”.

The theory that the killer virus was engineered in a Wuhan laboratory was fuelled by, among others, the administration of former US President Donald Trump. However, reputed science journal The Lancet, Senator Tom Cotton said it, China’s second-largest company Tencent’s data leak, the radio service of a Chinese businessman in exile, etc had been talking about it much earlier. Later, British intelligence confirmed the charge of bio-weapon. A Nobel Laureate French scientist said it. Chinese doctors who alluded to the sinister act were punished.

Flashback 1: Coronavirus a biological weapon

Zhao said it was “disrespectful” to the WHO probe to revive the theory, and risked an “undermining of global solidarity to fight the virus”, much as the WHO team had actually returned empty-handed from China as Beijing did not cooperate with the investigators.

Flashback 2: Inspectors face non-cooperation of CCP

Since infecting its first victims in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in August 2019, the pathogen has struck almost every country in the world, killing more than 3.4 million people and eviscerating national economies.

Flashback 3: Much before you thought it had happened

“If the US really wants full transparency then it should, like China did, invite WHO experts to visit the US and investigate,” Zhao said.

“Open up Fort Detrick military base as early as possible, and all the bio labs the US has around the world,” he said, referring to a US facility in Maryland.

The long-delayed report, by the team of international experts sent to Wuhan and their Chinese counterparts, drew no firm conclusions on the origins of the pandemic.

Instead, the WHO-led team said the virus most likely jumped from bats to humans via an intermediate animal. Initially, the expert report said a theory involving the virus leaking from a lab was “extremely unlikely”.

After the report was released, however, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus insisted all theories remained on the table.

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