China has questions to answer over coronavirus outbreak, says UK

WION Web Team New Delhi May 04, 2020, 05.04 PM(IST)

The novel coronavirus Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

US intelligence agencies have concluded the virus was not man-made or genetically modified.

Britain said on Monday that China has questions to answer over the information it shared about the novel coronavirus outbreak, even as the United States has scaled up its rhetoric over Chinese culpability for the novel coronavirus in recent days, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying on Sunday there was evidence the disease emerged from a Chinese lab.

Britain has, however, refused to comment on reports that a US-led intelligence consortium had an accused Beijing of a cover-up.

US intelligence agencies have concluded the virus was not man-made or genetically modified.

Washington has so far presented no evidence publicly that the virus came from a lab, which Beijing strongly denies.

The Australian Telegraph reported the US-led Five Eyes intelligence consortium had in a 15-page research dossier said that China had deliberately suppressed or destroyed evidence of the coronavirus outbreak in an "assault on international transparency" that cost tens of thousands of lives.

The Five Eyes groups US, British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand intelligence services.

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "Every day I get intelligence bulletins from our agencies around the world. I don't comment on individual bulletins, what I have and haven't seen. That would be wrong."

Asked if China had questions to answer over how quickly it made the world aware of the extent of the crisis, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "I think it does."

"China needs to be open and transparent about what it leant, it's shortcomings but also it's successes," Wallace said, adding that the time for a post mortem was after the outbreak.

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he was confident the coronavirus originated in a Chinese virology lab.

(With inputs from Reuters)