China has dismissed as a lie Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger’s claim that the coronavirus pandemic was allegedly caused by SARS-COV-2 leak from a laboratory in Wuhan, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a briefing on Monday.
“It’s well-known that there is the so-called theory on the virus leak from the laboratory in the city of Wuhan, where it had been artificially produced. Almost all international scientists and experts in the field of disease control, including US specialists in this area, have criticized it. Chinese scientists have repeatedly given comments on this issue to the mass media. US media representatives also visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where they listened to a professional opinion about the real situation,” the diplomat said. Chinese journalists also repeatedly gave figures and facts denying such allegations.
“Mr. Pottinger, a high-ranking US government official, keeps repeating the lie and slander that was stated earlier. I hope very much that the US side will clarify whether this is a personal stance of Mr. Pottinger or an official US position,” she noted.
Last week, Daily Mail published a statement by Mr. Pottinger, who claimed citing intelligence sources that the most likely cause of the pandemic was the leak of SARS-COV-2 from a Wuhan laboratory.
In May, US President Donald Trump suggested that the novel coronavirus could have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology due to negligence of the personnel. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said then that the US leader’s claim on the coronavirus leak from the lab due to “a stupid mistake in China” ran counter to the reality.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus – named COVID-19 by the WHO – have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia. On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the Johns Hopkins University, global COVID-19 cases have surpassed 85 mln and more than 1.8 mln have died.