File: Donald Trump speaks to reporters at the White House on 26 November, 2020
(AFP via Getty Images)
Donald Trump has said he has “very little doubt” that Covid-19 came from a lab in Wuhan after a report claimed that three researchers at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became so sick in November 2019 that they had to be hospitalised.
Speaking to Dan Bongino for a Fox Nation radio show on Monday, the former president said there was no need to use the word “potential” when talking about the origins of the coronavirus pandemic that has globally killed around 3.4 million people.
“You said ‘potential’ that it came from the lab. I think you can take the word ‘potential’ out that it came from the lab, frankly,” Mr Trump said, according to Washington Examiner.
He said: “I think it came from the lab without the word ‘potential’…I have very little doubt — and I mean very, very little doubt that it came from a lab.”
Mr Trump was responding to the host’s reference to a Wall Street Journal report that the virus was accidentally leaked from a Chinese lab, based on a US intelligence document which has reignited the virus origin debate.
The Trump administration and Republicans pushed the theory of the virus escaping Wuhan Institute of Virology throughout the pandemic.
The US published a “fact sheet” on 15 January, five days before Mr Trump left office, which said several researchers inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illnesses.
Trump had last year claimed to have seen evidence that the coronavirus originated from a medical laboratory in Wuhan, but did not provide details.
China has repeatedly rejected allegations of a virus leak. Its foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Monday that the report of three people at the Wuhan Institute of Virology falling ill is “totally untrue.”
He said: “What is the real purpose for the US to continue to play up the so-called “lab leak theory”? Does it really care about the origin-tracing of the virus or just want to divert attention?”
The US and UK have called for a transparent probe into the pandemic’s origins. Responding to The WSJ report, Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said the WHO’s investigation into the origins of Sars-CoV-2 “must be robust, transparent and independent”.
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