US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has linked the emergence of COVID-19 to Chinese laboratories.
“The US authorities today provide new information on activities within China’s government laboratories in 2019,” the politician said in a written statement that was circulated following the arrival in China of a group of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to Pompeo, the United States has reason to believe that several researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology contracted the coronavirus back in the summer of 2019 – before the first reported case of COVID-19. The secretary of state also claims that since 2016, the institute has studied the coronavirus infection of bats RaTG13, which is more than 96 per cent identical to COVID-19. Pompeo said the institute did not report on possible “experiments to increase the virus’s infectivity or lethality”.
In addition, the politician added that the Institute of Virology is associated with military research. “Despite the fact that the Wuhan Institute of Virology is presented as a civilian, he collaborated on publications and secret projects with the Chinese military,” he said.
Pompeo believes the coronavirus pandemic could have been avoided. He added that any responsible country would invite global health experts to Wuhan within days of the outbreak. The Secretary of State called for the World Health Organization experts to have access to all facilities, laboratory data, employees, eyewitnesses, and complainants.
Earlier, China was suspected of creating state secrets from research on the origin of the coronavirus. Associated Press reporters assure that a special commission under the Chinese government checks the virus before the publication of the study. According to the agency, Beijing is giving hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to scientists studying the origins of the coronavirus.
An outbreak of COVID-19 pneumonia caused by a novel coronavirus was first recorded in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. On March 11, WHO announced that the situation could be characterized as a pandemic.