China says US report on origins of Covid is without credibility – world
SHANGHAI: A declassified US intelligence report claiming plausible that the COVID-19 pandemic originated from a laboratory is unscientific and has no credibility, Chinese ministry spokesperson said on Sunday Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Wenbin in a statement.
The updated U.S. intelligence briefing, released on Saturday, said that a natural origin and a lab leak were both plausible hypotheses as to how SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, came about. ‘first infected humans, but that truth might never be known.
In a response to the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website on Sunday, Wang said that “a lie repeated a thousand times is always a lie,” adding that the US intelligence service “has a reputation for fraud and deception.”
“The search for the origins of the new coronavirus is a serious and complex issue that should and can only be studied through the cooperation of scientists around the world,” he said.
China has always denied claims that the virus was leaked to a specialized laboratory in Wuhan city, where COVID-19 was first identified in late 2019.
Wang also reiterated China’s calls to the United States to open their own laboratory in Fort Detrick to international experts.
A joint study by China and the World Health Organization (WHO) published this year all but ruled out the theory that COVID-19 originated in a laboratory, saying the most likely hypothesis was that it naturally infected humans, probably through the wildlife trade.
Critics said the study did not investigate Wuhan labs and look at the raw data needed to understand the early routes of transmission of the virus. Last month, the WHO created a new Scientific Advisory Group on the Origins of New Pathogens (SAGOs) and called on China to provide the raw data to help any further investigation. China refused, citing patient confidentiality rules.
In an open letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last week, a group of scientists critical of the organization said that although they welcomed a new investigation into the origins of COVID -19, the proposed composition of the SAGO panel lacked the necessary skills and impartiality.
On Monday, the WHO unexpectedly announced that it was reopening applications for its three-day SAGO panel, seeking experts in the social sciences, anthropology, ethics, political science and biosafety / biosafety.
He did not say whether any of the 26 candidates previously announced had dropped out or whether the panel was being expanded. His list was released on October 13, followed by a two-week public comment period for comment.