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MI5 dismisses Wuhan lab claims as ‘fake news’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A passenger walks in a enclosed bridge to board his flight at Tianhe Airport in Wuhan, in China’s central Hubei Province on May 29, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

The British Security Service (MI5) has dismissed as “fake news” claims that the new coronavirus, which first erupted in the Chinese city of Wuhan before growing into a global pandemic, was manufactured in a laboratory in China.

The service, responsible for internal UK security, rejected the idea of the flu-like pathogen being a man-made construct as rumor and conspiracy, and suggested that the virus originated in the Wuhan wet market, where wild animals are kept in cages and slaughtered for meat.

Sir Richard Dearlove, a former head of MI6, also said that he believes the coronavirus pandemic "started as an accident" when the virus escaped from a Chinese lab.

Scientists across the world have reached a near-unanimous consensus, however, that the virus emerged in animals – most likely bats or pangolins – before jumping to the human population.

The virus, which was first reported in Wuhan late last year, quickly spread to the rest of the world and became a new source of tension between Washington and Beijing.

US President Donald Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have repeatedly blamed China for the virus pandemic, alleging that the virus was artificially synthesized in a high-security laboratory in the Chinese city and that Beijing failed to act promptly when its own outbreak began late last year.        

The World Health Organization (WHO), senior US scientists, and even the US intelligence community have rejected both claims despite pressure from the White House.

Beijing has hit back by suggesting that the US military brought the virus to Wuhan and initiated the outbreak.

The respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus has caused more than 6.6 million infections and 391,294 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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