July 25, 2021

Joe Biden gives US intelligence 90 days to report

The President of the United States, Joe Biden, on Wednesday, May 26, called the American intelligence services to “Redouble efforts” to explain the origins of Covid-19. Mr Biden demanded a report within ninety days, as the theory of a laboratory accident in Wuhan, China has come back in force in recent weeks in the US debate. And calls for more in-depth investigation are growing within the scientific community.

Joe Biden recalled that the work of American intelligence, which focuses on two hypotheses (original animal or leak from a laboratory) have so far failed to lead to “A definitive conclusion”. “The United States will continue to work with its partners around the world to pressure China to participate in a full, transparent, and evidence-based international investigation.”, added the president, deploring the attitude of Beijing on this file.

The analysis: Covid-19: How China is waging an information war to rewrite the origins of the pandemic

He also wants a list of “Specific questions” that should be asked of China. Assailed with questions during the daily White House press briefing, Karine Jean-Pierre, spokesperson for the US executive, remained evasive, sticking to the reminder of the ninety-day deadline.

Chinese accusations

Hours before the release of Joe Biden’s press release, Beijing accused Washington of spreading theories “Plotters” on the origins of the pandemic. China has always fiercely fought the theory that SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the pandemic, could have escaped from one of its laboratories, in particular the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has been singled out. by the previous Trump administration.

This week, an article from Wall Street Journal revived speculation in the United States. The daily claimed to have had access to unpublished information from American intelligence, reporting that three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been reached, as early as November 2019, from “Symptoms compatible with both those of Covid-19 and those of a seasonal infection”, requiring hospital care. Beijing has denied information from Wall Street Journal, calling them “Totally false”.

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After a four-week stay in Wuhan at the start of the year, a joint study by experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Chinese experts had in March judged “Extremely unlikely” a laboratory accident. But the boss of the WHO himself, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, had called for a new investigation into the hypothesis of the laboratory leak.

The identification of the first cases of Covid-19 dates back to the end of 2019, in Wuhan, before the virus spread across the globe and killed nearly 3.5 million people.

The World with AFP