United State President, Joe Biden has ordered a fresh intelligence report on the origins of COVID-19.
Gatekeepers News reports that U.S President, Joe Biden has ordered federal agencies “to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion.”
The development comes after Biden’s team cancelled a secretly-held State Department inquiry launched during the former President, Donald Trump’s administration to prove the COVID-19 originated in a Chinese lab, over matters about the quality of its work.
The decision to cancel the inquiry, which was run primarily out of the State Department’s arms control and verification bureau, was made after Biden officials were briefed on the team’s draft findings in February and March 2021, according to a State Department spokesperson.
Gatekeepers News confirmed that the State Department investigation that was cancelled is different from the intelligence community’s investigation, which is ongoing.
Biden on Wednesday directed the U.S. intelligence community “to report back to me in 90 days” after the earlier report which had no definitive conclusion.
“As part of that report, I have asked for areas of further inquiry that may be required, including specific questions for China. I have also asked that this effort include work by our National Labs and other agencies of our government to augment the Intelligence Community’s efforts. And I have asked the Intelligence Community to keep Congress fully apprised of its work,” Biden said in a statement.
“It will be another whole of the government of effort … by our national labs and other agencies,” White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters shortly after the president’s statement was released.
U.S. officials have emphasised for months that a lack of cooperation from the government in Beijing hinders outside efforts.
“The failure to get our inspectors on the ground in those early months will always hamper any investigation into the origin of COVID-19, Biden also noted.
He said the U.S would work with allies to continue to press China “to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence.”
Earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) had investigated the origins of the virus and concluded in a report that the risk of an accidental leak from the Wuhan Institute, where COVID-19 research was being conducted on bats, was “extremely low.”
The WHO’s report which was criticised by the US, United Kingdom and other governments, said there was “no reporting of Covid-19 compatible respiratory illness during the weeks/months prior to December 2019, and no serological evidence of infection in workers through SARS-CoV-2-specific serology-screening.”
On Wednesday, Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, told Senate lawmakers at a hearing that “it is most likely that this is a virus that arose naturally, but we cannot exclude the possibility of some kind of a lab accident.”
In his reaction amid growing suspicion that COVID-19 may have escaped a Chinese laboratory, Trump said: “Now everybody is agreeing that I was right when I very early on called Wuhan as the source of COVID-19, sometimes referred to as the China Virus. To me, it was obvious from the beginning, but I was badly criticized, as usual.”