China hits back as US revisits Wuhan lab leak theory

China hits back as US revisits Wuhan lab leak theory
China has rejected any link between Covid-19 and a virus research lab in Wuhan. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: China has denounced US efforts to further investigate whether coronavirus came from a Chinese lab.

US President Joe Biden has called on to his country’s intelligence officials to “redouble” their work to find out how the virus was first transmitted to humans.

The foreign ministry of China accused the US of “political manipulation and blame shifting”.

Beijing rejected any link between Covid-19 and a virus research lab in Wuhan.

Covid-19 was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. Since then, more than 168 million Covid-19 infections have been confirmed worldwide and about 3.5 million deaths reported.

Authorities linked early coronavirus cases to a seafood market in Wuhan, leading scientists to theorise that the virus had first passed to humans from animals.

But recent US media reports have suggested growing evidence the disease could instead have emerged from a lab in China, perhaps through an accidental leak.

President Biden said in a statement on Wednesday that he had asked for a report on the origins of the coronavirus after taking office, “including whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident”. On receiving it this month, Mr Biden asked for “additional follow-up”.

The US president said the majority of the intelligence community had “coalesced” around those two scenarios, but “do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other”.

Mr Biden said he had now asked US intelligence agencies to “redouble their efforts to collect and analyse information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion”.

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