Washington: Covid-19 pandemic is back with a vengeance across the world, with renewed focus in the US on China which is again locking down towns and municipalities following fresh outbreaks. A report released by a US Republican congressional panel, citing copious open source data, renewed allegations that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) lab before September 12, 2019.
Evidence cited in the report included satellite imagery showing a surge in hospital traffic around the WIV’s headquarters and an increase in the use of internet search terms related to Covid-19 symptoms soon after the outbreak was detected on September 12. A surfeit of spending on safety protocols for the facility even though it was less than two years old, and a virtual military takeover followed by the virus database being taken offline in the middle of the night. Shortly after the removal of the database, the lab requested bids for additional security at the lab, such as gatekeepers, guards, video surveillance, security patrols, and people to handle the registration and reception of foreign personnel, the GOP report said, revealing that Major General Chen Wei, a biology and chemical weapons defence expert, had taken control of one of the institute’s labs in late 2019.
“As we continue to investigate the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, I believe it’s time to completely dismiss the wet market as the source of the outbreak. Instead, as this report lays out, a preponderance of the evidence proves that all roads lead to the WIV,” Congressman Mike McCaul, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said in a statement accompanying the report, which parallels efforts by the Biden administration and the WHO to determine the origins of the pandemic. The report also cited ‘ample evidence’ that scientists from WIV, aided by US experts and Chinese and US government funds, were conducting gain of function research under unsafe conditions, and working to modify coronaviruses to infect humans. It called for a bipartisan inquiry into the matter. The GOP indictment of China comes amid the party’s reluctance to adhere to Covid-19 protocols in US.