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The leaders of the G7 will push the World Health Organization to conduct a fresh probe into the origins of the COVID-19, according to a draft communique.
The call will be part of a document the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US are putting together that outlines a plan to end the pandemic by December 2022, Bloomberg reported.
The World Health Organization released a joint report with Chinese scientists in March after a team spent four weeks in Wuhan, saying it was ‘extremely unlikely’ the virus leaked from a Wuhan, China, laboratory.
But its findings were criticized amid concerns that investigators were delayed and lacked access to original samples.
The decision to call for a fresh probe comes amid accusations a Wuhan lab is engaged in a ‘cover up’ of situation. The Wall Street Journal reported that three workers at the Wuhan lab were hospitalized in November 2019 with symptoms similar to COVID but before the first cases were reported.
And the move by G7 leaders follows one by the European Union, which decided to join forces with the United States in demanding a new study.
Both announcements are a significant boost for President Joe Biden, who announced last month he had asked the intelligence community to redouble its efforts to get to the truth.
The leaders of the G7 will push the World Health Organization to conduct a fresh probe into the origins of the COVID-19; above President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive at Cornwall Airport Newquay and are greeted by Lord Lieutenant Colonel Edward Bolitho ahead of the G7 summit
Biden said last month he would continue to press China to participate in a full, transparent investigation to find out whether its Wuhan lab (pictured) was the source of the COVID-19 pandemic
The G7 communique is still being finalized and will include other items, such as a call for Russia to hold to account groups within its borders who conduct ransomware attacks and a commitment to accelerating the shift to zero-emission vehicles to combat climate change.
Biden landed in the United Kingdom on Wednesday evening for an eight-day trip to Europe, his first foreign trip as president.
Joe Biden’s G7 schedule includes a meeting with the Queen after summit
President Joe Biden’s first foreign trip as the US leader will feature a meeting with the Queen following the G7 summit. Here’s the full schedule:
Wednesday, June 9
Biden and his wife, Jill, leave Washington on Wednesday morning. Their first stop in the UK will be at Royal Air Force Mildenhall to greet U.S. Air Force personnel stationed there. Mildenhall is home to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, the only permanent U.S. Air Force air refueling wing in the European theater.
Thursday, June 10
Biden will meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Cornwall, site of the G7 summit, to reaffirm the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.
Friday, June 11
Biden will attend the G7 summit for three days starting on Friday, to work on U.S. policy priorities such as the economy and allied unity.
Saturday, June 12
Biden will attend more G7 summit meetings in Cornwall and have bilateral meetings with fellow G7 leaders.
Sunday, June 13
Biden will finish his meetings at the G7 summit. Afterward, the Bidens will meet Britain’s Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle. Then Biden will travel to Brussels for the night.
Monday, June 14
Biden will meet NATO leaders and have a private meeting with the president of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan.
Tuesday, June 15
Biden will hold more NATO meetings and then fly to Geneva for the night.
Wednesday, June 16
Biden will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, their first face-to-face meeting since Biden became president. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday it was unclear whether the two leaders would hold a joint news conference after their talks.
Officials have said the schedule – meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ahead of a G7 Summit, before travelling to Brussels for a NATO summit and E.U. meetings – was carefully co-ordinated as a show of unity before Biden sits down with President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.
President Biden has signaled that climate change and combatting Russian aggression are a few of his top agenda items for his meetings with leaders in the G7, NATO, and the EU – along with addressing the COVID pandemic that has caused 3.76 million deaths worldwide.
EU leaders also are working on their own draft communique to back the American president.
‘We call for progress on a transparent, evidence-based and expert-led WHO-convened phase 2 study on the origins of COVID-19, that is free from interference,’ the draft said, according to Reuters.
The question of the origins of COVID is exercising scientists and politicians in the U.S.
The two competing theories are that the virus jumped naturally from an animal host into humans, triggering the pandemic, or that it escaped from a virus laboratory in Wuhan, China.
This week Trump-era officials called for the Biden administration to halt certain types of research funding for China and investigate sanctions in order to force Beijing to co-operate with investigations.
And last month, President Biden finally asked his intelligence agencies to step up their efforts to get to the truth about the origins amid growing concern that it emerged from a Chinese laboratory.
A string of senior scientists have recently admitted they may have leapt to conclusions in assuming the virus jumped from an animal host in the wild to humans and are now looking into the theory it leaked from a Wuhan lab that have been dismissed for the last 12 months.
And fresh details emerged last month about how staff at the Wuhan Institute of Virology sought hospital treatment for COVID-like symptoms in November 2019.
The result is that a theory once consigned to fringe websites, championed by the Trump administration and decried by the media has moved into the mainstream and Biden aides have ditched their skepticism to call for more investigations.
Biden defended his administration’s approach and said the intelligence agents were divided on the two possible scenarios: laboratory leak or natural transfer in the wild.
‘I have now asked the intelligence community to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion, and to report back to me in 90 days,’ he said in May.
‘As part of that report, I have asked for areas of further inquiry that may be required, including specific questions for China.’
He also directed national laboratories to assist with the investigation.
Did coronavirus originate in Chinese government laboratory?
The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been collecting numerous coronaviruses from bats ever since the SARS outbreak in 2002. They have also published papers describing how these bat viruses have interacted with human cells.
US Embassy staff visited the lab in 2018 and ‘had grave safety concerns’ over the protocols which were being observed at the facility.
The lab is just a few miles from the Huanan wet market which is where the first cluster of infections erupted in Wuhan.
The market is just a few hundred yards from another lab called the Wuhan Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (WHCDC). The WHCDC kept disease-ridden animals in its labs, including some 605 bats.
Those who support the theory argue that Covid-19 could have leaked from either or both of these facilities and spread to the wet market. Most argue that this would have been a virus they were studying rather than one which was engineered.
Researchers work in a lab of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province in 2017
Last year a bombshell paper from the Beijing-sponsored South China University of Technology recounted how bats once attacked a researcher at the WHCDC and ‘blood of bat was on his skin.’
The report says: ‘Genome sequences from patients were 96% or 89% identical to the Bat CoV ZC45 coronavirus originally found in Rhinolophus affinis (intermediate horseshoe bat).’
It describes how the only native bats are found around 600 miles away from the Wuhan seafood market and that the probability of bats flying from Yunnan and Zhejiang provinces was minimal.
In addition there is little to suggest the local populace eat the bats as evidenced by testimonies of 31 residents and 28 visitors.
Instead the authors point to research being carried out within 300 yards at the WHCDC.
One of the researchers at the WHCDC described quarantining himself for two weeks after a bat’s blood got on his skin, according to the report. That same man also quarantined himself after a bat urinated on him.
And he also mentions discovering a live tick from a bat – parasites known for their ability to pass infections through a host animal’s blood.
‘The WHCDC was also adjacent to the Union Hospital where the first group of doctors were infected during this epidemic,’ the report says.
‘It is plausible that the virus leaked around and some of them contaminated the initial patients in this epidemic, though solid proofs are needed in future study.’