U.S. agency examines reports of early COVID infection in Wuhan | Coronavirus pandemic news

U.S. government sources warned that the U.S. intelligence agency is reviewing the report, saying that researchers at the Chinese Virology Laboratory were seriously ill in 2019, one month before the first COVID-19 cases were reported. laboratory.

A source familiar with U.S. intelligence reporting and analysis told Reuters that a still classified U.S. intelligence report circulated during the administration of former President Donald Trump stated that three Wuhan Institute of Virus Research researchers They fell ill in November 2019, so much so that they sought hospital care.

One of the sources said that it is not yet clear whether the researchers are hospitalized or what their symptoms are. They all spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday that the illness of three laboratory members in Wuhan was “completely incorrect”. The virus first appeared in Wuhan, China, and then spread around the world.

“We don’t have enough information to draw conclusions about the origin [of the coronavirus]”, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (Jen Psaki) said at a press conference on Monday.

“We need data. We need to conduct an independent investigation. This is exactly what we have been asking for,” Psaki said.

Information about the researchers was published in the Wall Street Journal on May 23.

In a report co-written with Chinese scientists and released in March, the World Health Organization (WHO) team Spent four weeks in and around Wuhan In January and February, the virus may be from Bats humans through another animal, And “Introduction through laboratory events is considered extremely unlikely.”

An American source said that the American intelligence community “has not ruled out any theory.” The source added that the intelligence report “unable to dismiss” Wuhan Research Institute employees may be infected in November.

Some conservative websites and some Republicans in Congress advocated the hypothesis that the virus escaped from the Chinese laboratory. US intelligence agencies have not yet made up their minds.

The source said that five days before Trump’s inauguration on January 15, 2020, the U.S. State Department issued a “fact sheet” on COVID-19 and the Wuhan laboratory, partly based on the information in the confidential report.

The source said that the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency have contributed to public fact sheets and classified reports. Both were convened by the Office of the Director of the National Intelligence Agency.

Current U.S. government agencies, experts investigating the origin of COVID-19, and officials in President Joe Biden’s administration all believe that the confidential report is valid.

A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said: “We still have serious questions about the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, including its origin in the People’s Republic of China.”

The Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee asserted in a report on the origin of COVID-19 last week that there was “a large amount of circumstantial evidence” that COVID-19 “may be a leak from a Wuhan laboratory.”

According to the report, this type of evidence includes information showing that “several researchers” appeared in the laboratory, which showed symptoms of COVID-19 at the end of 2019.

Wang Yanyi, the head of the Wuhan laboratory, told China’s national radio and television station CGTN that the US statement in May 2020 was “Pure Manufacturing“.

The World Health Organization held its annual ministerial meeting on May 24, but it has not announced any follow-up actions to the Wuhan delegation, but Member states may cause concern. US Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra will address the week-long forum on Tuesday.

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