China’s foreign ministry has rejected recent remarks by US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the novel coronavirus was first made in a lab in the city of Wuhan.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said “multiple times there is no evidence the new coronavirus was created in a laboratory. Many well-known medical experts in the world also believe that claims of the so-called laboratory leaks have no scientific basis.,” Chinese Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing on Thursday.
The spokesman added, “China’s position on the origin and means of transmission of the novel coronavirus is clear. We always believe this is a scientific issue, which should be studied by scientists and medical experts.”
He made the remark in response to a question about accusations that the coronavirus originated in a lab in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the epidemic first emerged in late 2019.
At a White House press conference on Wednesday, Trump said his government was trying to determine whether the coronavirus emanated from a lab in Wuhan.
Asked if he had raised the subject in his conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump said, “I don’t want to discuss what I talked to him about the laboratory, I just don’t want to discuss, it’s inappropriate right now.”
In February, China’s state-backed Wuhan Institute of Virology dismissed rumors that the virus may have been artificially synthesized at one of its laboratories or perhaps escaped from such a facility.
Pompeo, in a Fox News Channel interview after Trump’s news conference, said “we know this virus originated in Wuhan, China,” and that the Institute of Virology is only a handful of miles away from the wet market.
“We really need the Chinese government to open up” and help explain “exactly how this virus spread,” said Pompeo. “The Chinese government needs to come clean,” he said.
The US stands first in the number of total confirmed cases of infection and death worldwide.
According to the latest figures by the Worldmeters website, 614,246 cases of infection in the US have been reported so far, with 26,064 death cases, also the highest across the world.
The number of people infected with the novel coronavirus in the world has risen to more than two million, out of whom over 130,000 have died, but experts believe the figures understate the true toll of the contagion.
The death toll and the number of infections have roughly doubled in 13 days and continue to grow steadily.
Some European countries like Germany think they have passed the peak of the disease and begin to take careful steps to lift restrictions imposed to slow the virus.
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