It is too early to undergo an investigation into the origins and spread of the coronavirus pandemic, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said Monday.
Most experts throughout the world said the virus outbreak has not yet ebbed to the point of justifying a wide-scale investigation, spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters during a daily briefing, according to Reuters. His pushback comes as world leaders demand a probe to avoid future pandemics.
Lijian, a Chinese politician, suggested on Twitter that the U.S. Army introduced coronavirus into Wuhan.
Zhao also falsely stated in a March 12 tweet that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield was “arrested” before floating the conspiracy theory to his 317,000 followers. (RELATED: Twitter Won’t Remove Chinese Official’s Tweet Suggesting US Army Introduced Virus Into Wuhan)
“When did Patient Zero appear in the United States? How many people are infected? What is the name of the hospital?” he said in the tweet. “It may be that the US military brought the epidemic to Wuhan.”
Zhao added: “America needs to be transparent! The United States owes us an explanation!”
The first case of coronavirus, or COVID-19, is believed to have appeared in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, before spreading since February to more than 40 countries and territories and has a global death toll of 315,000. World leaders want answers.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, for instance, is among a handful of world leaders pushing China and other nations to join the probe into the virus to help prevent future outbreaks.
“I think this is for all of us important, I mean for the whole world it is important,” von der Leyen told CNBC during a May 1 interview.
Meanwhile, recent reports suggest Chinese officials are not acting transparently regarding their handling of the virus.
President Xi Jinping, for instance, met with World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in January to discuss ways of suppressing information about human-to-human transmission of coronavirus, according to German intelligence.
“The BND’s verdict is harsh: At least four, if not six, weeks have been lost in Beijing’s information policy in the fight against the virus,” Der Spiegel noted in its May 9 report on Germany’s assessment.
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