US will boost efforts to trace Covid-19 origins

US will boost efforts to trace Covid-19 origins

WASHINGTON: US President Biden has ordered US intelligence agencies to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic in China as a way to prevent future pandemics, media reported.
The New York Times reported Thursday that agencies had not reached a consensus on how the virus originated, with Biden on Wednesday instructing agencies to “redouble their efforts” and report in 90 days. gave.
In a statement, Biden said he had received intelligence officials’ reports on the origins of the virus, before asking for “additional follow-up.” “The intelligence community had roughly reconciled the two possible scenarios,” the NYT said, but they did not definitively answer the question.
“Here is their current position: while two elements in the IC (intelligence community) lean toward the former scenario and one leans more toward the latter – each with low or moderate confidence – most elements do not believe that there is enough information. To assess the likelihood of one being higher than the other,” Biden said.
Biden’s statement indicates that his administration takes seriously the possibility that it was accidentally leaked from a lab, as well as the prevailing theory that it was transmitted to humans by an animal.
The statement follows a renewed appeal from top health officials this week for a more rigorous investigation; And after mounting criticism of an international team’s report, ruling out the possibility of an accidental escape of Covid from a Chinese laboratory, the NYT said.
The White House had previously underestimated the need for a US-led investigation and insisted that the World Health Organization (WHO) was the appropriate place for an international investigation.
Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House’s deputy press secretary, is quoted as saying, “What has changed is wanting to dig a little deeper and give the IC another 90 days to redouble its efforts.” for.”
“The WHO is doing its job and what the IC is currently doing is not mutually exclusive,” Jean-Pierre said.
A joint WHO-China investigation, the findings of which were released in March, dismissed as “extremely unlikely” the possibility that the virus had emerged accidentally from a laboratory.
The report said this theory was put forward by some scientists about its possible route from an animal host to humans in a natural environment.

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