Coronavirus: United States investigating whether Covid-19 comes from Chinese Wuhan laboratory
The United States does not seem to rule out that the coronavirus at the origin of the pandemic which has already killed more than 137,000 people in the world comes from a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan, and now refer to an “investigation” to shed light on its origin.
“We are conducting a full investigation of everything we can learn about how this virus spread, infected the whole world, and caused such a huge economic loss,” said US Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo on Fox News.
He was questioned on Wednesday evening on a Washington Post article claiming that the US Embassy in Beijing had alerted the US State Department two years ago about the unsatisfactory security measures in Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) laboratory which was researching coronaviruses in bats.
Mr. Pompeo was also questioned about information from Fox News that “several sources” now believe that the coronavirus, first reported in Wuhan in December 2018, emanates from the same laboratory – even if it ‘would be a natural virus, not a pathogenic agent created by the Chinese, and that its “escape” would not be voluntary but due to poor security protocols.
Mike Pompeo did not deny either of these two pieces of information.
Also questioned Wednesday during his daily press conference on the health crisis in the White House, Donald Trump had been evasive.
“I can tell you that we are hearing this story more and more. We will see,” replied the American president, ensuring that this “horrible situation” was the subject of “very close investigation”.
However, he refused to specify whether he had raised the case of this laboratory with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
According to experts at this stage, the new coronavirus made its appearance in late 2019 in an outdoor market in Wuhan, where exotic animals such as bats were sold alive. The animal virus could have mutated there by spreading to humans.
The theory relayed by Fox News is therefore different.
Without clearly confirming it, the American secretary of state drove the point home.
“What we do know is that this virus was born in Wuhan, China,” added Mike Pompeo. “What we do know is that the Wuhan Institute of Virology is only a few kilometers from the street market,” he said.