Trump went on to say he may pose $1trillion (£779.9billion) of tariffs on Chinese goods as retribution. The lab in question is the Wuhan Institute of Virology. When asked if Boris Johnson agreed with Trump, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson told Mail Online: “There are clearly questions that need to be answered about the origin and spread of the virus, not least so we can ensure that we are better prepared for future global pandemics.
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“This work will need to be done with all of our international partners.”
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Wuhan Institute of Virology is located near the wet market which has been identified as a likely epicentre of the virus.
Trump told reporters that he could not divulge what the evidence was.
A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry hit back at the US saying the “enemy is the virus, not China”.
Dr Jennifer Cole, associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, was one of a number of scientists to hit back at Trump.
She said: “While there continues to be no such evidence, Trump seems to be using this vacuum to fill the gap with the narrative that best suits his political position – that China is somehow responsible for the disease and the deaths it is causing, and is covering up its culpability.
“This is a dangerous political precedent that does nothing to support the international cooperation that is needed at this time to deal with the pandemic as best we can.”
Brendan Wren, a professor of medical microbiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, added: “Having been to Wuhan a number of times and having had infectious disease researchers from Wuhan working in my labs in London I don’t believe that there have been any deliberate or nefarious activities with the SARS-Cov-2 virus.”
The World Health Organisation has said it wants to be a part of any efforts made by Beijing to ascertain the source of the virus.
Beijing has, however, repeatedly rejected calls for an international probe.
In March, Lijian Zhao, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, tweeted: “It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.
“Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!”
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A Chinese state media presenter who goes by the name Ms V featured in a video on her YouTube channel, where she said: “The Asahi Corp. of Japan published a report in the past days indicating the possibility of new cases of coronavirus in the United States among deaths caused by influenza infection and the US government recently recognised this possibility.”
“This news has caused a widespread debate on social media about the possibility of the virus being transmitted to China from abroad during the period of the Military Olympic Games in Wuhan, which was attended by 109 countries, including the United States.”
Asahi Corp. has denied the existence of the report.
James Le Duc, head of the Galveston National Laboratory in the US told The Guardian: “There is convincing evidence that the new virus was not the result of intentional genetic engineering and that it almost certainly originated from nature, given its high similarity to other known bat-associated coronaviruses.”
In a letter to scientific journal Nature, a team in California led by microbiology professor Kristian Andersen said the disease did not appear to be derived from sliced sections of other known viruses.
The letter in March explained: “We propose two scenarios that can plausibly explain the origin of Sars-CoV-2: natural selection in an animal host before zoonotic [animal to human] transfer; and natural selection in humans following zoonotic transfer.”
According to official figures the US has had over 1 million coronavirus cases, 65,435 Amercians have died.
There have been recorded deaths in all US states and territories.
The US withdrew funding from the World Health Organisation over concerns it was too pro-Beijing.
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