U.S. President, Joe Biden, has directed the U.S Intelligence Community to further investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and report back to him in 90 days.
Biden, in a statement from the White House in Washington, DC, told the Intelligence Community to redouble their efforts to conclude the report in three months.
According to him, the community should intensify their effort to collect and analyse information that could bring U.S. closer to a definitive conclusion and to report back in 90 days.
“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.’’
The announcement came after a U.S. intelligence report found several researchers at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill in November 2019 and had to be hospitalised — a new detail that fuelled fresh public pressure on Biden to delve deeper into the origin of the virus.
Biden said the U.S would 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.
The U.S leader recalled how he called Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to get access to learn about COVID-19 when it emerged in early 2020.
He, however, said failure to get our inspectors on the ground in those early months would always hamper any investigation into the origin of COVID-19.
“Nevertheless, shortly after I became President, in March, I had my National Security Advisor task the Intelligence Community to prepare a report on their most up-to-date analysis of the origins of COVID-19.
“I received that report earlier this month, and asked for additional follow-up.
“As of today, the U.S. Intelligence Community has “coalesced around two likely scenarios” but has not reached a definitive conclusion on this question,’’ Biden said. (NAN)