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China Criticizes US Covid Lab Claims As "Conspiracy Theories"

China Criticizes US Covid Lab Claims As "Conspiracy Theories"

China accused the United States of spreading "lies" and "conspiracy theories" after the Trump administration said it had new information suggesting that the coronavirus could have emerged from a Chinese laboratory.

A US State Department fact sheet on the origins of the virus released on Friday was "full of fallacies," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press conference Monday in Beijing. She dismissed claims as the "latest insanity" from outgoing US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.

Hua said China was cooperating with the World Health Organization and its investigation into the origins of the pathogen. A team of WHO experts arrived in China last week and is currently under quarantine.

The State Department had said it had new evidence that researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill in the fall of 2019, prior to the first identified case of the coronavirus in the central Chinese city, with symptoms it said were consistent with Covid-19 or common seasonal illnesses. The accusations mark the latest move by the outgoing Trump administration to pressure China on the origins of the virus, just days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

The United States did not say how it obtained the new disease information in the laboratory. The State Department said Beijing's lack of transparency about the origin of the virus, coupled with efforts to mask initial deficiencies in the response to the outbreak, made it difficult to draw clear conclusions.

China has been under scrutiny since the outbreak in Wuhan, but the Trump administration also sought to put more blame on authorities in Beijing as the pandemic worsened in the United States.

Beijing is increasing its efforts to reshape the coronavirus narrative amid increasing scrutiny over its origins, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said earlier this month that “increasing research suggests that the pandemic is likely to has been caused by separate outbreaks in various parts of the world. . "

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