Wuhan lab staff sought hospital care before Covid outbreak: Report

Washington, May 24 (INN): A recent study has revealed that three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) had sought hospital care in November 2019, months before China disclosed the COVID-19 pandemic, making it evident that the origin of Covid-19 could be through the labs in China.
However, China, as usual, has denied any lab leaks and said that it is nothing but a way to divert attention.
Citing a previously undisclosed US intelligence report, a renowned American publication, The Wall Street Journal on Sunday said that the report provides fresh details on the number of researchers affected, the timing of their illnesses, and their hospital visits and may add weight to calls for a broader probe of whether the COVID-19 virus could have escaped from the laboratory.
The report came on the eve of a meeting of the World Health Organization’s decision-making body, which is expected to discuss the next phase of an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
The United States has always believed several theories by researchers that the coronavirus outbreak has been the result of China’s misuse of science in a lab and has been working with the World Health Organization to go to the root of the situation.
A Reuters report quoted a National Security Council official as saying that the Biden administration continued to have “serious questions about the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, including its origins within the People’s Republic of China.”
She said the US government was working with the WHO and other member states to support an expert-driven evaluation of the pandemic’s origins “that is free from interference or politicization.”
“We’re not going to make pronouncements that prejudge an ongoing WHO study into the source of SARS-CoV-2, but we’ve been clear that sound and technically credible theories should be thoroughly evaluated by international experts,” she said.
The Journal said current and former officials familiar with the intelligence about the lab researchers expressed a range of views about the strength of the report’s supporting evidence, with one unnamed person saying it needed “further investigation and additional corroboration.”
The United States, Norway, Canada, Britain and other countries in March expressed concerns about the WHO-led COVID-19 origins study, and called for further investigation and full access to all pertinent human, animal and other data about the early stages of the outbreak.
On Sunday, China’s foreign ministry noted that a WHO-led team had concluded a lab leak was extremely unlikely after a visit in February to the virology institute.
“The US continues to hype the lab leak theory,” the ministry said in response to a request for comment by the Journal.
“Is it actually concerned about tracing the source or trying to divert attention?”
This is not the first time China has quashed such claims. In February also, it refused to give raw data on early COVID-19 cases to the WHO-led team probing the origins of the pandemic, according to one of the team’s investigators, potentially complicating efforts to understand how the outbreak began.

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