Beijing today said the WHO has found no evidence coronavirus was man-made, fending off accusations that it was created in a Chinese lab.
A French presidential official has batted down rumors alleging a link between the coronavirus epidemic and a virology lab in Wuhan, reiterating that there is “no factual evidence” to support the increasingly US-backed claims.
“We would like to make it clear that there is to this day no factual evidence corroborating the information recently circulating in the United States press that establishes a link between the origins of COVID-19 and the work of the P4 laboratory of Wuhan, China,” the official told reporters on Friday.
It isn’t just the American media running with the unsubstantiated theory – French media have also latched onto it, buoyed by President Emmanuel Macron himself recently questioning whether Beijing had been entirely honest about what happened in the early days of the epidemic.
“There are clearly things that have happened that we don’t know about,” the president told the Financial Times on Thursday, suggesting it would be “naive” to claim China had handled the crisis better than France. His comments came after the French Foreign Ministry summoned the Chinese ambassador in response to an article on the Chinese Embassy’s website suggesting some Western countries were abandoning elderly people to die in care homes, as had occurred in Spain.
China dismissed the quarrel as a “misunderstanding,” with Foreign Ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao pointing out that Beijing had not made any negative comments about France’s response to the crisis “and has no intention of making any.”
While the US government has not officially accused Beijing of unleashing the coronavirus upon the world, it has hinted in a growing number of ways that the Chinese Communist Party is responsible for the epidemic, complaining of it covering up the outbreak, suppressing reports coming out of China, and – most recently – of lacking the “openness and transparency” supposedly needed to operate a safe virology lab. Beijing has repeatedly denied the allegations that Covid-19 originated in a Wuhan laboratory.