Wuhan lab staff sought hospital care before COVID-19 outbreak disclosed – WSJ

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Safety personnel hold watch outdoors the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the course of the go to by the World Well being Group (WHO) workforce tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19), in Wuhan, Hubei province, China February 3, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photograph

Three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) sought hospital care in November 2019, months earlier than China disclosed the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wall Road Journal reported on Sunday, citing a beforehand undisclosed U.S. intelligence report.

The newspaper mentioned the report – which offers recent particulars on the variety of researchers affected, the timing of their sicknesses, and their hospital visits – might add weight to requires a broader probe of whether or not the COVID-19 virus may have escaped from the laboratory.

The report got here on the eve of a gathering of the World Well being Group’s decision-making physique, which is predicted to debate the following section of an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

A Nationwide Safety Council spokeswoman had no touch upon the Journal’s report however mentioned the Biden administration continued to have “severe questions in regards to the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, together with its origins throughout the Peoples Republic of China.”

She mentioned the U.S. authorities was working with the WHO and different member states to help an expert-driven analysis of the pandemic’s origins “that’s free from interference or politicization.”

“We’re not going to make pronouncements that prejudge an ongoing WHO research into the supply of SARS-CoV-2, however we have been clear that sound and technically credible theories ought to be totally evaluated by worldwide consultants,” she mentioned.

The Journal mentioned present and former officers acquainted with the intelligence in regards to the lab researchers expressed a variety of views in regards to the power of the report’s supporting proof, with one unnamed particular person saying it wanted “additional investigation and extra corroboration.”

The USA, Norway, Canada, Britain and different international locations in March expressed issues in regards to the WHO-led COVID-19 origins research, and known as for additional investigation and full entry to all pertinent human, animal and different information in regards to the early phases of the outbreak.

Washington is eager to make sure better cooperation and transparency by China, based on a supply acquainted with the hassle.

The Chinese language Embassy in Washington didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Sunday.

On Sunday, China’s international ministry famous {that a} WHO-led workforce had concluded a lab leak was extraordinarily unlikely after a go to in February to the virology institute. “The U.S. continues to hype the lab leak idea,” the ministry mentioned in response to a request for remark by the Journal. “Is it really involved about tracing the supply or attempting to divert consideration?”

The Trump administration had mentioned it suspected the virus might have escaped from a Chinese language lab, which Beijing denies.

A State Division truth sheet launched close to the top of the Trump administration had mentioned “the U.S. authorities has purpose to consider that a number of researchers contained in the WIV grew to become sick in autumn 2019, earlier than the primary recognized case of the outbreak, with signs in line with each COVID-19 and customary seasonal sicknesses.” It didn’t say what number of researchers.

China refused to offer uncooked information on early COVID-19 instances to the WHO-led workforce probing the origins of the pandemic, based on one of many workforce’s investigators, Reuters reported in February, doubtlessly complicating efforts to grasp how the outbreak started.

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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