Published: Thu, May 27, 2021

Biden order to review COVID-19 origin revives conspiracy theories

Biden order to review COVID-19 origin revives conspiracy theories

President Joe Biden said Wednesday he has directed the U.S. intelligence community to redouble their efforts in investigating the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and report back to him in 90 days.

On Thursday morning Foreign Minister Marise Payne welcomed President Biden's move to increase investigations but said: 'I do note the report saying that [the virus leaked from the lab] is contested within the United States intelligence community'.

"The failure to get our inspectors on the ground in those early months will always hamper any investigation into the origin of Covid-19". It remains unclear whether the afflicted researchers were hospitalized or what their symptoms were, one of the sources said.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that USA intelligence indicates three researchers from the lab, which studies bat coronaviruses and their potential to infect humans, became sick enough in November 2019 to seek hospital care.

The move follows growing calls in the US and around the world for China to be more open about the beginnings of the pandemic.

Eminent Harvard epidemiologist Prof Marc Lipsitch said: "Lab escape scenario remains plausible enough that it should be looked into rigorously, along with the various natural routes that could have been the origin".

There has been increasing pressure recently to not discard the lab theory and investigate the origins of the virus more thoroughly.

The foreign ministry, while questioning the credibility of USA intelligence, said that the U.S. has turned "a blind eye to facts, science and questionable study of origins" while adding that it has "kept clamouring for additional investigation in China". "Most of us continue to believe that we're underestimating Mother Nature here", he said, noting that two previous coronavirus outbreaks this century were determined to have emerged naturally.

US President Joe Biden has ordered intelligence officials to reinvestigate the origins of the novel coronavirus.

"We haven't ruled out anything yet", principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters in her first time at the briefing podium, when asked whether the virus had emerged in a manner that was "deliberate or not an accident".

In a report issued in March written jointly with Chinese scientists, a World Health Organization-led team that spent four weeks in and around Wuhan in January and February said the virus had probably been transmitted from bats to humans through another animal, and that "introduction through a laboratory incident was considered to be an extremely unlikely pathway".

Anthony Fauci, one of the faces of the USA pandemic response and an adviser to Biden, reiterated Wednesday that he believed it was unlikely that the virus came from a lab.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was asked whether he believed COVID-19 was a "natural occurrence" at a Senate hearing on Wednesday. "Every piece of evidence points to a leak from this laboratory", Pompeo said in a tweet this week. Last year, after Australia called for an independent worldwide inquiry last year, China unleashed a series of economic sanctions on the country including tariffs on products like barley and bans on most beef exports. "And this time we need a really expert-driven, no-holds-barred collection of information, which is how we're mostly really going to find out what happened". "That's why we've advocated very strongly that World Health Organization needs to go back and try again after the first phase of their investigation really satisfied nobody".

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