Much controversial topics on coronavirus origins
NYpost on its report said that a damning dossier leaked from the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance claims that China lied to the world about human-to-human transmission of the virus, disappeared whistleblowers and refused to hand over virus samples so the West could make a vaccine.
|The Wuhan Institute of Virology (Photo: nypost)|
The bombshell 15-page research document also indicated that some of the five intelligence agencies believe that the virus may have been leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a claim initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory because Chinese officials insisted the virus came from the local wet markets, according to the Australian Daily Telegraph.
At the same time, a senior intelligence source told Fox News that while most intelligence agencies believe COVID-19 originated in the Wuhan lab, “it was thought to have been released accidentally.”
Foxnews reported that rumors have spread across social media over the past 48 hours claiming Shi Zhengli, China’s infamous “bat woman” coronavirus scientist, and her family escaped from China, bringing hundreds of confidential documents to the U.S. embassy in Paris.
However, Shi, a renowned researcher of bat coronaviruses, wrote on WeChat, a Chinese messaging service, on Saturday that she and her family had not fled the country.
|Photo by Foxnews|
"Everything is all right for my family and me, dear friends!" She also posted nine photos of her recent life.
"No matter how difficult things are, it (defecting) shall never happen. We've done nothing wrong. With strong belief in science, we will see the day when the clouds disperse and the sun shines."
Shi is a renowned virologist, best known for her work with bat coronaviruses at her lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). She discovered the natural bat reservoir for the Sars pathogen that spread in southern China from 2002 to 2003.
Rumors in mid-April claimed that Shi had been "muzzled" by the government following the initial outbreak.
Shi has been under heavy scrutiny amid concerns that the virus had originated from the Wuhan lab. On February 2, Shi posted that "I promise with my life that the virus has nothing to do with the lab" in a response to an article about the pandemic's origins.
Her intervention comes after it emerged that a research dossier compiled by the so-called "Five Eyes" intelligence alliance states that China intentionally hid or destroyed evidence of the coronavirus outbreak, leading to the loss of tens of thousands of lives around the world,
The report from the intelligence-sharing alliance of the five leading English-speaking countries, the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada called China’s shady handling of the virus “an assault on international transparency.”, NYpost said.
|The report claims the People’s Republic suppressed information about asymptomatic carriers and started censoring search engines in December to keep people in the dark about the bug (Photo: metro.com.uk)|
The paper described how China downplayed the outbreak around the world while wildly scrambling to bury all traces of the disease at home, including bleaching wet market stalls, censoring the growing evidence of asymptomatic carriers of the virus and stonewalling sample requests from other countries.
Beijing started censoring search engines as early as December to stop Internet surfing related to the virus, according to the report. The World Health Organization went along with China’s claims and also denied human-to-human transmission of the virus despite concern from neighboring countries.
Intelligence gathering showed that China had “evidence of human-human transmission from early December,” but continued to deny it could spread this way until January 20, according to the dossier.
The document pointed out China imposed travel bans on people traveling throughout the nation, but continued to tell the rest of the world travel bans were unnecessary.
While, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, claimed on Sunday there is “enormous evidence” the coronavirus outbreak originated in a Chinese laboratory – but did not provide any of the alleged evidence, reported The guardian
At one point, the secretary of state appeared confused over whether he was claiming the Sars-CoV-2 virus (which causes the Covid-19 disease) was deliberately engineered or escaped as the result of a lab accident.
“Look, the best experts so far seem to think it was manmade. I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point,” he said.
But when he was reminded that US intelligence had issued a formal statement noting the opposite – that the scientific consensus was that the virus was not manmade or genetically modified – Pompeo replied: “That’s right. I agree with that.”
Donald Trump made a similar unsupported claim on Thursday, saying he was privy to evidence of the pandemic began in a Chinese lab but was not permitted to share it.
On the same day, Pompeo told a radio interviewer: “We don’t know if it came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. We don’t know if it emanated from the wet market or yet some other place. We don’t know those answers.”
By Sunday afternoon, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, the US had confirmed 1,134,507 coronavirus cases and more than 66,000 deaths. Worldwide, there had been nearly 3.5m cases confirmed and more than 245,000 people had died.
Beset by criticism of its response to the outbreak and management of the ensuing public health crisis, the Trump administration has sought to focus blame on China.
Most epidemiologists say that while it is possible the outbreak started in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where coronaviruses have been intensively studied, it is a far less likely scenario than the theory that it was transmitted naturally from bats through an intermediary animal, mutating along the way to become dangerous to humans.
On Tuesday, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, Gen Mark Milley, said “the weight of evidence” pointed to natural transmission but was not conclusive.
Beijing has rejected the suggestion the virus could have escaped from a laboratory. But Chinese authorities have not allowed foreign experts, including investigators from the World Health Organization, to take part in the investigation into the origins of the virus. Nor have they shared samples taken from wild animals at the Wuhan livestock market where they claim the outbreak began.
In 2018, US diplomats and scientists raised concerns in state department cables about safety standards and the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Analysis of the first 41 Covid-19 patients in medical journal the Lancet found that 27 had direct exposure to the Wuhan market. The same analysis found that the first known case of the illness did not.