China Rejects Report of Sick Staff at Lab Before COVID Outbreak
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian called the report ‘totally untrue’.
China has rubbished reports that three researchers from the country went to a hospital in Wuhan with an illness, right before the spread of what would be called COVID-19.
When asked about the reports on 24 May, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian called them ‘totally untrue’.
After the report, America’s top expert on infectious diseases and adviser to US President Joe Biden Dr Anthony Fauci said he wasn’t convinced that the virus developed naturally.
What Did the WSJ Report Say?
A Wall Street Journal article, which cited a US Intelligence report, stated that this trio from the Wuhan Institute of Virology was infected as early as November 2019 while China disclosed the existence of an outbreak of pneumonia cases only on 31 December 2019.
This report, based on previously undisclosed intelligence, stated that several researchers at the lab became sick with symptoms that are consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illness.
What Did China’s Foreign Minister Say?
“The United States continues to hype up the ‘lab-leak theory’. Does it care about traceability or is it just trying to distract attention?” Zhao said, according to a report in The Guardian.
Lijian told reporters that China ‘had not been exposed to COVID-19 before 30 December 2019 and a zero-infection record is kept among its staff and graduate students so far, according to a report by Agence France-Presse.
He also cited a report from Match, where the institute had said it ‘never dealt with SARS-COV-2 before 30 December 2019.
The coronavirus was, however, taken to the lab for study, according to Chinese authorities. He called the reports untrue.
In March, after a four-week stay in Wuhan, a joint study by the WHO and Chinese experts deemed such an explanation ‘extremely unlikely’.
Experts generally believe that the transmission of the deadly virus was from an animal.
What Did US Top Expert Say?
“I am not convinced. I think we should investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened,” Fauci said in an interview with FOX news.
Unlike other experts who believe that the virus spread from an animal, one of the widely prevalent theories, he indirectly discarded the theory.
"Certainly, the people who investigated it, say it likely was the emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals, but it could have been something else, and we need to find that out. So, you know, that’s the reason why I said I’m perfectly in favour of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus," Fauci said, according to a Livemint report.
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