Biden directs to identify COVID source within 90 days
Published: 11:50 AM, 27 May 2021 Updated: 11:51 AM, 27 May 2021
United States President Joe Biden; Photo: Collected
United States President Joe Biden has instructed the intelligence agencies to submit a report on the origin of the coronavirus within the next 90 days, reports BBC.
He gave instructions on Wednesday amid confusion over whether the virus, which first broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan, originated from wildlife or a laboratory.
The coronavirus was first identified in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. So far, the number of people infected with the virus worldwide has exceeded 168 million. The death toll has been recorded at least 3.5 million.
Biden instructed authorities to report “whether the coronavirus had been transmitted from animals to humans after a laboratory accident”. He received a report this month. However, he termed it as “incomplete” and directed for a second investigation report to give more “clear and specific” decisions in this regard.
“I urge the intelligence agencies to redouble their efforts to gather more information and analyze it and submit an investigation report within 90 days,” Biden said, hoping that a definite conclusion can be reached through this.
Biden called for a new investigation after US Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide a more transparent report on the source of the coronavirus.
A WHO report released jointly with Chinese researchers in March this year said there was “no possibility” of the virus spreading from the laboratory. However, the world body demanded more research on the source of the virus. Several US agencies claim that some recent evidence suggests that “the coronavirus spread from Chinese laboratories, not wildlife”.
According to a recent report by the US intelligence agency, three members of the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized in November 2019, just weeks before the coronavirus was detected in China. A few weeks after the incident, in late December, the Chinese government reported to the world that it was the first country to be hit by the novel coronavirus or Covid-19.
Earlier this year, a team of international experts led by the WHO went to Wuhan, China to investigate the source of the virus, but Beijing’s non-cooperation led to the investigation losing its credibility.
Anthony Fauci, the chief health adviser to the Joe Biden government, said he thought the virus had been transmitted from animals to humans. This month, however, Fauci expressed his skepticism about the fact that the virus was created “naturally”.