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Covid-19 appeared in China much earlier, Beijing withholds information,- Pompeo

Source : 112 Ukraine

The US government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak
11:52, 17 January 2021

Open source

According to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Chinese authorities are still hiding information about Covid-19, which is necessary to combat its spread. This statement was made by Pompeo in order to help the investigation team of the World Health Organization (WHO), which arrived in China this week, the press service of the State Department informed.

Related: China confirms first case of UK Covid-19 variant

"The United States government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illnesses. This raises questions about the credibility of WIV senior researcher Shi Zhengli’s public claim that there was “zero infection” among the WIV’s staff and students of SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-related viruses," the statement reads.

Pompeo notes that starting in at least 2016, WIV researchers studied RaTG13, the bat coronavirus identified by the WIV in January 2020 as its closest sample to SARS-CoV-2 (96.2% similar).

Related: China voices its version of coronavirus pandemic emergence

Since the outbreak, the WIV has not been transparent nor consistent about its work with RaTG13 or other similar viruses, including possible “gain of function” experiments to enhance transmissibility or lethality.

Despite the WIV presenting itself as a civilian institution, the WIV has collaborated on publications and secret projects with China’s military. The WIV has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017.

The State Department emphasizes that the Covid-19 pandemic was avoidable. Any responsible country would have invited world health investigators to Wuhan within days of an outbreak. 

China instead refused offers of help – including from the United States – and punished brave Chinese doctors, scientists, and journalists who tried to alert the world to the dangers of the virus.

Beijing, according to Pompeo, continues today to withhold vital information that scientists need to protect the world from this deadly virus, and the next one.

The Secretary of State called on China to provide relevant data to a team of experts from the World Health Organization, who arrived in the country to investigate the origin of the virus.

As we reported earlier, over the last 24 hours, Ukrainian doctors confirmed 5,990 new cases of Covid-19, including 177 children and 236 healthcare workers. 

Related: China finally green lights WHO investigation into coronavirus origins as daily Covid-19 cases spike to five-month high

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