The United States is urging China to ‘come clean’ about the origin of coronavirus amid claims the disease was made in a Wuhan laboratory.
The US is urging China to ‘come clean’ about the origin of COVID-19 as claims circulate that it was manufactured in a Wuhan laboratory.
Following a Fox News report out of the US on Wednesday that coronavirus was developed by Wuhan scientists rather than jumping species in a “wet” market, President Donald Trump said his government was trying to confirm it.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Beijing “needs to come clean” on what it knows.
Fox’s report claimed the virus was made in a laboratory as a show that China’s ability to identify and then fight viruses was as great as that of America.
The report did not suggest China developed it for use as a bioweapon, but that it escaped from the lab because of poor safety standards and began its path of infection.
A state-backed Wuhan virology laboratory which conducts experiments is situated only a few miles from the wet market where the coronavirus began to spread.
Asked at a White House news conference if he knew about the report of the virus having escaped from a Wuhan lab, Mr Trump said he had.
But he would not reveal what he discussed with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“I don’t want to discuss what I talked to him about the laboratory. I just don’t want to discuss, it’s inappropriate right now,” he said.
“We are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation that happened.”
Mr Pompeo told Fox News that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was not a long way from the wet market in question.
“We really need the Chinese Government to open up (and explain) exactly how this virus spread,” Mr Pompeo said.
“The Chinese Government needs to come clean.”
Just three months ago, the Institute denied rumours coronavirus had been grown in its laboratory and then escaped via an infected person.
A predominate theory about the coronavirus origin is that it originated in live bats sold at the wet market and then infected a human visiting or working there.
Fresh doubts arising about China’s role in coronavirus sparked by the Fox report come after Mr Trump and others have been openly sceptical about the country’s reported death toll, and about its alleged early efforts to muzzle doctors raising alarms about COVID-19’s virulence and infectiousness.
China, whose population is of 1.39 billion is more than four times that of the US, has reported a death toll of about 3000, whereas America has seen more than 28,000 die and 10,000 in New York alone.
Mr Trump told the White House press conference America’s large and rising toll was a result of more reporting.
“Do you really believe those numbers in this vast country called China, and that they have a certain number of cases and a certain number of deaths; does anybody really believe that?” he said.