U.S. intelligence agencies to clarify origin of pandemic
U.S. President Joe Biden has ordered the United States intelligence community to get to the bottom of the origin of the Corona pandemic. The investigations so far have provided different assessments without conclusive conclusions, Biden said in a written statement Wednesday. As a result, he said, he has instructed the intelligence agencies to step up their efforts and submit another report on the matter within 90 days. In doing so, the United States was working with like-minded partners around the world to press China for transparency and access to data.
Biden explained that after taking office, he had already commissioned an initial intelligence report on the origin of the pandemic - including the question of whether the virus could have emerged through human contact with an infected animal or through a laboratory accident. He had since received that report. Within the intelligence apparatus, he said, there are differing assessments of the question - but there is a lack of information to conclusively evaluate the scenarios. The intelligence agencies should now collect and analyze further information "that could bring us closer to a final conclusion."
For a long time, unsubstantiated speculations have been circulating that the coronavirus could have originated from a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan and possibly been released as a result of a laboratory accident. The Chinese have so far vehemently denied such accusations. The coronavirus first appeared in Wuhan.China had also denied a U.S. media report in recent days that three scientists from the Institute of Virology in Wuhan had been hospitalized in November 2019.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had concluded in a study presented in March that the virus could have originated in pangolins in addition to bats. In contrast, the scientists involved described the theory that it could have escaped from a laboratory as "extremely unlikely."
Photo by Brandon Mowinkel