Boris Johnson discusses reports of Wuhan lab 'leak'
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Boris Johnson has spoken out about the growing interest in the theory that COVID-19 was leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The Prime Minister insisted that he was “keeping an open mind” about the virus’s origins. He told CBC News chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton in a Canadian interview that there was “a lot of interesting stuff” coming out about the Wuhan lab.
The renewed interested developed after a declassified US intelligence report, made public earlier this month, revealed that several Chinese researchers at the institute became ill in November of 2019 and had to be hospitalized.
Mr Johnson urged officials to ramp up their investigation into the origin of the pandemic virus.
He told CBC: “I’ve got an open mind on this, but I’ll be clear with you — so far, the stuff I’ve seen does not suggest that the number one candidate for this is a lab leak.
“So the stuff I’ve seen suggests that at the moment, the number one suspect for the origin of this disease is still a zoonotic disease that occurred as a result of the farming of wild animals in some way.”
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He continued: “That is what the WHO still says as well. But I am not going to exclude any possibility.
“I’m reading a lot of interesting stuff at the moment about the possibility that there was some virus escaping from a lab. I think we’ve got to keep an open mind.”
On Sunday, it was revealed that British intelligence services are now regarding the theory that COVID-19 originated in and was leaked from a lab in Wuhan as “feasible”.
Previously, intelligence services believed there was only a “remote” chance the virus had originated in the lab.
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Last week, US President Joe Biden ordered an inquiry into the origin of the virus as the lab leak theory gains traction.
President Biden ordered intelligence officials to “redouble” their efforts to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the possibility tying the virus to a Chinese laboratory.
He told intelligence agencies to report back within 90 days and directed US national laboratories to assist with the investigation.
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Beijing has repeatedly denied that the Wuhan Institute of Virology is the source of the virus that has caused more than 3.5 million deaths.
China’s foreign ministry accused the US of “political manipulation and blame shifting”.
The controversial theory that Covid came from a lab in Wuhan, where researchers study the coronavirus in bats, emerged early on in the pandemic, largely due to the backing of then-US President Donald Trump.
MPs in the UK are demanding a fresh investigation, with the Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat telling the Sunday Times: “The silence coming from Wuhan is troubling.
“We need to open the crypt and see what happened to be able to protect ourselves in the future.
“That means starting an investigation, along with partners around the world and in the WHO.”
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