After a lengthy investigation, US Intelligence has reported that the coronavirus occurred naturally, but President Donald Trump says he has seen evidence to the contrary.
US President Donald Trump has appeared to undercut his own intelligence agencies by suggesting he has seen evidence the coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory.
Earlier the US national intelligence director’s office said it was still investigating how the virus began, but the office said it had determined Covid-19 “was not man made or genetically modified.”
At the White House press conference on Thursday, Mr Trump was asked by a reporter: “Have you seen anything at this point that gives you a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the origin of this virus?”
“Yes, I have. Yes, I have,” said the president, without specifying. “And I think the World Health Organisation should be ashamed of themselves because they’re like the public relations agency for China.”
Asked later to clarify his comment, he said: “I can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that.”
Trump also told reporters: “Whether they [China] made a mistake, or whether it started off as a mistake and then they made another one, or did somebody do something on purpose?
“I don’t understand how traffic, how people weren’t allowed into the rest of China, but they allowed into the rest of the world. That’s bad, that’s a hard question for them to answer.”
China has rejected the lab theory and criticised the US response to Covid-19, since emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of last year, the coronavirus is confirmed to have infected 3.2 million people worldwide and killed more than 230,000.