Looking into reports that coronavirus ‘escaped’ from Wuhan lab: Trump

Meanwhile, lawmaker James Smith accused China of indulging in covering up the issue of coronavirus.
File Pic
File Pic

The US is looking into reports that the novel coronavirus, whichhas killed more than 150,000 people globally, "escaped" from a Wuhanlab in China, President Donald Trump has said.

"We're looking at it, a lot of people are looking at it. Itseems to make sense," Trump told reporters at a White House newsconference on Friday when asked if there was an investigation into whether thecoronavirus disease (COVID-19) escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China.

"They talk about a certain kind of bat, but that bat wasn'tin that area if you can believe this," he claimed. "That bat wasn'tsold at that wet zone…. That bat is 40 miles away."

Earlier in the day, Fox News reported that the United States wasconducting a full-scale investigation into whether the deadly virus escapedfrom a lab in Wuhan.

In an exclusive report, it said intelligence operatives werereportedly gathering information about the laboratory and the initial outbreakof the pathogen.

Intelligence analysts are piecing together a timeline of what thegovernment knew and "creating an accurate picture of what happened",the channel quoted sources as saying.

"A lot of strange things are happening, but there is a lot ofinvestigation going on and we are going to find out," Trump said."All I can say is wherever it came from, came from China in whatever form,184 countries now are suffering because of it."

Trump added that the US would end its grant to a level-IV lab inWuhan.

"(The) Obama administration gave them a grant of USD 3.7million," the president said. "We will end that grant veryquickly."

A group of more than half-a-dozen lawmakers sent a letter to Houseand Senate leadership, requesting them to ensure that no future coronavirusrelief funds be appropriated to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Meanwhile, lawmaker James Smith accused China of indulging incovering up the issue of coronavirus.

"The communist Chinese government's cover-up of thecoronavirus outbreak allowed this virus to spread unchecked, threatening thehealth and stability of the free world. They must be held accountable,"Smith said.

"When people in Wuhan began to fall ill with a mysteriousSARS-like illness, instead of working to contain the virus, the ChineseCommunist Party ruthlessly worked to contain the spread of information. Thissecrecy endangered millions of lives, the Congressman said.

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