- The U.S. Department of State has come out swinging at China, stating the COVID-19 pandemic was avoidable
- The Secretary of State is again urging Chinese authorities to comply with World Health Organisation (WHO) staff in assessing the origins of the coronavirus
- Mike Pompeo also revealed U.S. investigations show workers at a lab in Wuhan may have contracted the virus as early as August 2019
- The State Department believes this specific lab in Wuhan, where COVID-19 may have originated, also has links to the Chinese Military
- Australia has previously joined the U.S. in calling for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19, sparking conflict between Beijing and Canberra
The U.S. Department of State has come out swinging at China, stating the COVID-19 pandemic was avoidable and calling for them to take part in an independent investigation.
In a statement released on the weekend, the U.S. Secretary of State is again urging Chinese authorities to comply with World Health Organisation staff who've recently arrived in the country to assess the origin of the coronavirus.
Wuhan Virus: CCP covered it up. CCP disappeared the doctors who knew. CCP still refuses to let the world in to see what it wrought. CCP lied about where the virus came from. pic.twitter.com/jVCETwUokO— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 16, 2021
Mike Pompeo also revealed that U.S. investigators believe workers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) may have contracted the virus as early as autumn 2019 — or sometime between August and November.
"The United States government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses," the State Department stated.
"This raises questions about the credibility of WIV senior researcher Shi Zhengli’s public claim that there was “zero infection” among the WIV’s staff and students of SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-related viruses," the department added.
Additionally, the State Department argues that this specific lab in Wuhan, where COVID-19 may have originated, also has links to the Chinese Military.
"Despite the WIV presenting itself as a civilian institution, the WIV has collaborated on publications and secret projects with China’s military. The WIV has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017," the Department stated.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has sent 10 international experts to Wuhan to investigate the origins of COVID-19, as well as to better understand how the virus may have been introduced to the human population.
Ahead of WHO's report on the COVID-19 origins, the U.S. State Department released the statement blaming China for the pandemic and urging co-operation.
The Department states "the COVID-19 pandemic was avoidable. Any responsible country would have invited world health investigators to Wuhan within days of an outbreak. China instead refused offers of help."
This damning statement comes after Australia also called for an independent inquiry into China's role in the pandemic back in April 2020 and again in September.
Since then, relations between Australia and China have deteriorated over a number of issues, such as trade wars, human rights disagreements and foreign policy.