President Joe Biden has ordered an investigation to determine the origin of the coronavirus. The decision was made after it became known that part of the US intelligence agencies believe that the virus that caused Covid-19 leaked from one of the laboratories in China.
Intelligence agencies are considering two possible scenarios, though they are not firmly sure exactly which theory is more compelling, Biden said.
An intelligence report requested by the president in March was submitted to the White House on Wednesday. According to the White House, then the president appealed to the intelligence agencies to identify the new coronavirus “delayed by human contact with an infected animal or by a laboratory accident.”
Biden’s public questioning of the virus’s origin has somehow strengthened theories that the virus was transmitted to humans not from an animal but from a research lab in China.
The Chinese embassy in the United States said today that politicizing the issue would hamper investigations into the origins of Kovid-19. China’s initiative is to “conduct a comprehensive study of all early cases of Covid-19 detected worldwide and to conduct investigations in the world’s secret bases and biological laboratories.”
Covid-19 has claimed the lives of more than 3 million people worldwide to date. The first cases of the new coronavirus, according to official information, were reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.
In a report co-authored by Chinese science, the World Health Organization said in March that the virus was most likely transmitted to humans from bats or other intermediate animals, and that the likelihood of it escaping from its laboratory was extremely low.
In Washington, meanwhile, dissatisfaction with China is growing as Beijing refuses to cooperate openly and transparently with international investigations.
Biden gave the intelligence services 90 days to investigate and report. “Part of this report will be some of the topics that require further investigation, and may include specific questions about China,” the president said.
The United States has been trying to determine the origin of the virus since Covid-19 was declared a public health risk in early 2020.
Earlier in the week, it was reported that while still in the administration of former President Donald Trump, intelligence services had compiled a report linking the origins of the virus to China. According to this report, in November 2019, three staff members of the Wuhan Institute of Virology became seriously ill and were taken to hospital. However, it is unknown what symptoms they had.
Intelligence committees in both houses of the US Congress are conducting their own investigations into how and where the virus may have spread. The House Intelligence Committee focuses specifically on the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Republicans believe that based on existing circumstantial evidence, there is growing suspicion that the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute, where Chinese scientists were working on biological weapons, and Beijing is trying to cover up this mistake.