A Chinese laboratory at the center of new theories about how the coronavirus pandemic started was the subject of multiple urgent warnings inside the U.S. State Department two years ago, according to a new report.
U.S. Embassy officials warned in January 2018 about inadequate safety at the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab and passed on information about scientists conducting risky research on coronavirus from bats, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Those cables have renewed speculation inside the U.S. government about whether Wuhan-based labs were the source of the novel coronavirus, although no firm connection has been established. The theory, however, has gained traction in recent days.
Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday afternoon, “It should be no surprise to you that we have taken a keen interest in that and we’ve had a lot of intelligence take a hard look at that. I would just say at this point, it’s inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural, but we don’t know for certain.”
The United Kingdom has said that the idea that the virus, which has turned into a full-blown global pandemic, was leaked from a Wuhan lab is “no longer being discounted.”
A member of the U.K. government’s emergency committee of senior officials claimed Sunday: “There is a credible alternative view (to the zoonotic theory) based on the nature of the virus. Perhaps it is no coincidence that there is a laboratory in Wuhan.”
Foreign affairs expert Gordon Chang said in a recent opinion piece on Fox News that “many Chinese believe the virus either was deliberately released or accidentally escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a P4-level bio-safety facility.”
He added: “This lab, known for studying coronaviruses, is not far from the market that had been initially identified as the source of the outbreak.”
In a series of diplomatic cables labeled “Sensitive But Unclassified,” U.S. Embassy officials warned that the lab had massive management weaknesses, posed severe health risks and warned Washington to get involved. – READ MORE
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