China’s Foreign Ministry has said that claims about the novel coronavirus originating in a lab are not based on science, citing the WHO as it rebuked the latest news story on Covid-19 ‘patient zero.’
“I want to remind you that the head of the [World Health Organization] has repeatedly stated that there is no evidence that the novel coronavirus has been produced in the laboratory,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters on Thursday.
He added that “many well-known medical experts in the world also believe that the claims about the so-called leak [of the virus] from a laboratory are not based on science.”
Zhao was answering a question about a recent story by Fox News. Citing anonymous sources, the news channel reported that the deadly coronavirus had originally spread from a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak was first recorded, and that the first person to be infected was an employee of the facility.
One of China’s leading virology research centers is based in Wuhan – a fact that has led to speculation by some Western politicians and media that the virus may have been developed there as a biological weapon or may have been accidentally let loose by scientists after studying coronaviruses in bats. Beijing has repeatedly denied these allegations.
Last week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged everyone not to “politicize” the coronavirus and warned against using the Covid-19 pandemic to “score political points.” Ghebreyesus earlier warned all countries against spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories.