Biden orders more intel investigation of Covid-19 origin

28 May 2021 | International

AP

WASHINGTON

President Joe Biden ordered US intelligence officials to “redouble” their efforts to investigate the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, including any possibility the trail might lead to a Chinese laboratory.

After months of minimising that possibility as a fringe theory, the Biden administration is joining worldwide pressure for China to be more open about the outbreak, aiming to head off GOP complaints the president has not been tough enough as well as to use the opportunity to press China on alleged obstruction.

Biden on Wednesday asked US intelligence agencies to report back within 90 days. He directed US national laboratories to assist with the investigation and the intelligence community to prepare a list of specific queries for the Chinese government. He called on China to cooperate with international probes into the origins of the pandemic.

Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have promoted the theory that the virus emerged from a laboratory accident rather than naturally through human contact with an infected animal in Wuhan, China.

Biden in a statement said the majority of the intelligence community had “coalesced” around those two scenarios but “do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other.” He revealed that two agencies lean toward the animal link and “one leans more toward” the lab theory, “each with low or moderate confidence.”

“The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence,” said Biden.

His statement came after weeks of the administration endeavouring to avoid public discussion of the lab leak theory and privately suggesting it was farfetched.

In another sign of shifting attitudes, the Senate approved two Wuhan lab-related amendments without opposition, attaching them to a largely unrelated bill to increase US investments in innovation.

Similar News

 

Why China is getting tough on crypto

9 hours ago | International

AFPBeijingCryptocurrency prices have fluctuated wildly in recent weeks as China intensifies a crackdown on trading and mining operations.On Monday bitcoin slumped more than 10 percent...

Ethiopians to vote in ‘first free election’

9 hours ago | International

ReutersADDIS ABABAEthiopians voted on Monday in national and regional elections that the prime minister has billed as proof of his commitment to democracy after decades...

SA 'diamond rush' unearths only quartz crystals

9 hours ago | International

REUTERSJOHANNESBURGUnidentified stones that lured thousands of fortune seekers to a rural South African village to mine the land with picks and shovels were not diamonds...

Zambia’s founding president dies

1 day - 21 June 2021 | International

NAMPA-REUTERS LUSAKAKenneth Kaunda, Zambia's founding president who led his country for 27 years and...

Policeman killed, more than 80 learners abducted in attack...

1 day - 21 June 2021 | International

NAMPA-REUTERSLAGOS Gunmen killed a police officer and kidnapped at least 80 learners and five teachers from a school in the Nigerian...

700 million Africans without sanitation

1 week ago - 15 June 2021 | International

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKMore than 700 million people in Africa do not have access to sanitation, resulting in many preventable diseases. This was said by agriculture minister...

Attack on home of senior Niger politician kills guard

1 week ago - 14 June 2021 | International

AFPNiameyA machine-gun attack on the home of Seini Oumarou, president of the National Assembly in Niger, killed one of his guards and seriously wounded a...

Fugitive Chilean colonel arrested in Argentina on human rights...

1 week ago - 14 June 2021 | International

REUTERSBUENOS AIRESPolice in Argentina arrested a retired Chilean army colonel in Buenos Aires on Saturday after he fled neighbouring Chile, where he was convicted of...

To counter China, G7 leaders agree increased climate finance

1 week ago - 14 June 2021 | International

ELIZABETH PIPERCARBIS BAYG7 leaders were expected on Sunday to commit to increasing their climate finance contributions to meet an overdue spending pledge of $100 billion...

PM defends ‘give and take’ reparation deal

1 week ago - 09 June 2021 | International

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKPrime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila says the government has achieved ‘significant milestones’ by getting Germany to concede that it committed genocide on Namibian soil, as...

Latest News

Geingob’s vaccination status is unimportant...

9 hours ago | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES AND OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEKPresidential advisor Alfredo Hengari says questions over when President Hage Geingob is expected to get vaccinated for...

Leadership at core

9 hours ago | People

She is passionate about mentoring and grooming young girlsEnzo Amuele Gift Dapewa Amwaalwa (26) is an aspiring young leader who believes in improving the...

Congo says investor Gertler's permits...

9 hours ago | Economics

Democratic Republic of Congo said exploration permits from companies controlled by Israeli investor Dan Gertler for two huge oil concessions near the eastern border with...

Nigeria could launch pilot digital...

9 hours ago | Economics

CAMILLUS EBOHNigeria's Central Bank is preparing a digital currency pilot that could launch as early as the end of this year, its director of information...

EDITORIAL: Leaders fail to inspire...

9 hours ago | Opinion

It is often said that leaders must know when to lead, when to follow and when to accompany. At the time when leaders from across...

Education ministry talks AS level...

9 hours ago | Education

Elizabeth Joseph On Monday, 14 June, education minister Anna Nghipondoka said for all the schools to successfully implement the AS level as part of...

Photo of the week

9 hours ago | Education

CAPTION: Amid the closure of schools and the announcement of the winter holiday, we are reminded about the educational booklets that help learners remain active...

This week, My Zone set...

9 hours ago | Opinion

Mia Botha It’s definitely self-discipline and the ability to adapt to any situation at hand. You’ll have to be able to focus on what...

South Africa's economy to grow...

9 hours ago | Economics

VUYANI NDABASouth Africa's economy is on track to grow 4.1% in 2021, above recent median forecasts for Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole but not enough...

Load More