Mr Pompeo also said that this was not the first time that Chinese lab failures had allowed a deadly virus to escape and endanger the world. It comes as US health authorities confirmed more than 1.1 million infections with at least 68,000 deaths. The Secretary of State told ABC news: “There’s enormous evidence that that’s where this began.
“We’ve said from the beginning that this was a virus that originated in Wuhan, China.
“We took a lot of grief for that from the outset.
“But I think the whole world can see now. Remember, China has a history of infecting the world, and they have a history of running substandard laboratories.”
He added: “These are not the first times that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab.”
Last Thursday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said that it regarded the coronavirus as a natural phenomenon.
The agency said in a statement: “The Intelligence Community … concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified.”
The statement undercuts a popular conspiracy theory that the virus was developed in a Wuhan laboratory.
A less conspiratorial theory holds that naturally-occurring bat coronaviruses being studied at a Wuhan lab may have been unintentionally spread outside of the building due to lax biosecurity protocols.
Mr Trump also said that the US would seek reparations from China, threatening to impose tariffs of $1trillion on Beijing in retribution for the pandemic.
The Chinese government denied all responsibility for the origins of the killer virus.
Beijing said that any claims the coronavirus was released from a laboratory were “unfounded and purely fabricated out of nothing”.
The foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang cited the institute’s director, Yuan Zhiming, as saying the lab strictly implements bio-security procedures that would prevent the release of any pathogen.
The Secretary of State continued his attack by alleging that China did everything it could to cover up the outbreak.
He characterised Beijing’s response as “a classic Communist disinformation effort” by silencing medical professionals and removing reporters to limit the spread of information on the virus.
He told ABC: “We can confirm that the Chinese Communist Party did all that it could to make sure that the world didn’t learn in a timely fashion about what was taking place.
“Instead, China behaved like authoritarian regimes do, attempted to conceal and hide and confuse.
“These are the kind of things that have now presented this enormous crisis, an enormous loss of life and tremendous economic cost, all across the globe.”
Published at Mon, 04 May 2020 00:15:00 +0000