Scientists had believed COVID-19 was transmitted from bats to an unidentified intermediary species before infecting humans at the wet market in Wuhan. This is located close to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the only level four biosecurity laboratory lab in China. But Professor Clive Hamilton said the earliest confirmed cases of coronavirus were found to have infected people who had no contact with the wet market. He added the lab researched a range of bat coronaviruses including by engineering them.
Professor Hamilton told Sky News: “The argument that the coronavirus emerged from the South China Seafood market just no longer stacks up.
“This has been demonstrated by top quality studies.
“So the idea that it originated in December sometime, usually late December, in this market, simply doesn’t stack up.
“The only other plausible explanation was that it was a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
The expert said the theory came from Chinese scientists themselves, and people throughout China had even searched for the woman thought to be patient zero – who worked at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
But he added this woman “seems to have disappeared off the face of the planet”.
Professor Hamilton also said two Chinese scientists had written a highly regarded paper alleging coronavirus came from a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The paper from February 6 was written by Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao, both scientists from Wuhan universities, and was titled: ‘The possible origins of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus’.
This stated how bats that carry the virus live in habitat 900km from the seafood market, the mammals are not eaten by people living in Wuhan and that “no bat was traded in the market”.
Professor Hamilton said: “There’s a very plausible hypothesis here that someone became infected in the laboratory, walked out and started infecting other people in Wuhan.”
China has been accused of corvering up the true impact of the coronavirus pandemic after the outbreak began, which several countries, in particular the US, have raged cost the world several vital weeks of preparation time.
Despite the claims, neither the US nor the UK officially believe the virus was leaked from a lab.
The latest claims come after China furiously reacted to what it called ‘preposterous allegations’ made by the US over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also accused China of withholding virus samples he said were needed for vaccine research.
Donald Trump has also claimed there is enough evidence to prove President Xi’s regime misled the world on coronavirus and its outbreak.
On Saturday, Beijing issued a 30-page, 11,000 word rebuttal that provided a timeline of how the country reportedly provided information to the world in a “timely”, “open and transparent” manner.
The report, which set out to reject suggestions the virus was deliberately created or somehow leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, claimed all evidence shows coronavirus is not man-made.
It also insisted the Wuhan laboratory was not capable of even synthesising a new virus.
This came as a report claimed Chinese President Xi personally asked World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom to ‘delay a global warning’ about the threat of coronavirus in January.
German newspaper Der Spiegel published the allegations this weekend, citing intelligence from the country’s Federal Intelligence Service, known as the ‘Bundesnachrichtendienst’ (BND).
According to the BND: “On January 21, China’s leader Xi Jinping asked WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to hold back information about a human-to-human transmission and to delay a pandemic warning.
“The BND estimates that China’s information policy lost four to six weeks to fight the virus worldwide’.
But the WHO has furiously rejected these allegations, calling them ‘unfounded and untrue’.
In a statement, the organisation said: “Dr Tedros and President Xi did not speak on January 21 and they have never spoken by phone.
“Such inaccurate reports distract and detract from WHO’s and the world’s efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
“China confirmed human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus on January 20 (prior to the alleged phone conversation).
“The WHO publicly declared on January 22 that ‘data collected … suggests that human-to-human transmission is taking place in Wuhan’.”
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