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Wuhan lab staff sought hospital care before COVID-19 outbreak disclosed - WSJ

CoronavirusMay 24, 2021 05:40AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Security personnel keep watch outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology during the visit by the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Wuhan, Hubei province, China Fe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Three researchers from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) sought hospital care in November 2019, a month before China reported the first cases of COVID-19, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing a U.S. intelligence report.

The newspaper said the previously undisclosed report - which provides fresh details on the number of researchers affected, the timing of their illnesses, and their hospital visits - may add weight to calls for a broader investigation into whether the COVID-19 virus could have escaped from the laboratory.

The Journal said current and former officials familiar with the intelligence expressed a range of views about the strength of the report's supporting evidence, with one unnamed person saying it needed "further investigation and additional corroboration."

The first cases of what would eventually be known as COVID-19 were reported at the end of December 2019 in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the advanced laboratory specialising in coronavirus research is located.

Chinese scientists and officials have consistently rejected the lab leak hypothesis, saying SARS-CoV-2 could have been circulating in other regions before it hit Wuhan, and might have even entered China from another country via imported frozen food shipments or wildlife trading.

China's foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, said on Monday that it was "completely untrue" that three members of staff at WIV had fallen ill.

"The United States continues to hype up the lab leak theory," he said. "Does it care about traceability or is it just trying to distract attention?"

The Journal report came on the eve of a meeting of the World Health Organization's decision-making body, which is expected to discuss the next phase of an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

Asked about the report, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said via email that the organisation's technical teams were now deciding on the next steps. He said further study was needed into the role of animal markets as well as the lab leak hypothesis.

A U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman had no comment on the report but said the Biden administration continued to have "serious questions about the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, including its origins within the Peoples Republic of China."

She said the U.S. government was working with the WHO and other member states to support an expert-driven evaluation of the pandemic's origins "that is free from interference or politicization."

"We're not going to make pronouncements that prejudge an ongoing WHO study into the source of SARS-CoV-2, but we've been clear that sound and technically credible theories should be thoroughly evaluated by international experts," she said.

A joint study into the origins of COVID-19 by the WHO and China published at the end of March said it was "extremely unlikely" that it had escaped from a lab.

But China was accused of failing to disclose raw data on early COVID-19 cases to the WHO team, and the United States, the European Union and other Western countries called on Beijing to grant "full access" to independent experts.

A State Department fact sheet released near the end of the Trump administration said "the U.S. government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses." It did not say how many researchers.

Wuhan lab staff sought hospital care before COVID-19 outbreak disclosed - WSJ
 

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Comments (13)
Jj Piper
Jj Piper May 24, 2021 7:41AM ET
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David9 - Grow up and smell the coffee.
Guy Dewaerheid
Guy Dewaerheid May 24, 2021 12:07AM ET
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Uk produced the virus and US put him in Wuan. This was done becasusethe trade war was not working.
Patron Silver
Patron Silver May 24, 2021 12:04AM ET
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it's funny how the righties suddenly find Reuters as not fake news because they like what they want to hear. typical lowlifes
Ominous Owl
Ominous Owl May 24, 2021 12:04AM ET
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The point is the libs will blather like a cuckold must and stand by the side when the war erupts.
Yankee Steve
Yankee Steve May 23, 2021 11:30PM ET
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It is true the virus was msn-made. There is a video of the executive of Ecolab admitting of spiking thr virus with protein. This us no longer a conspiracy theory. This is now public knowledge. Even politicofact retract their early analysis that it is conspiracy
David David
David9 May 23, 2021 11:30PM ET
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Who told you it is man made... give scientist's name... please don't say Pompeo....
David David
David9 May 23, 2021 10:25PM ET
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The world owes China a lot... China's good health system was able to detect the virus... China derect the virus first, doesn't mean it started there... virus has shown up in other places way ahead of January...
Virginia Paige
Virginia Paige May 23, 2021 10:17PM ET
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So basically Trump was right again. China lied, people died.
David David
David9 May 23, 2021 10:17PM ET
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No, Trump is done... Trumo is getting sued calling China Virus.... he is going to pay big...
Pete John
Pete John May 23, 2021 10:17PM ET
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wsj owned by murdoch...this paper is a joke just like new york post.
Virginia Paige
Virginia Paige May 23, 2021 10:16PM ET
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No wonder why Fauci is scared and trying to wrap things up with COVID. Fauci/NIH were supporting and funding the Wuhan lab that was doing research on COVID-19 precursors prior to COVID-19. Too bad the MSM is doing all they can to gaslight and burry the story.
Hitesh Jain
Hitesh Jain May 23, 2021 8:57PM ET
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welcome to the world of biological war with genetically modified virus mutating itself, heard for the first time since Years....
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel May 23, 2021 8:44PM ET
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Biden has China first foreign policy therefore Biden will cover for China all the way
Leonard Kong
Leonard Kong May 23, 2021 8:44PM ET
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this comment is nonsensical
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun May 23, 2021 7:36PM ET
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They studied bats. The virus jumped from one of the bat they capture into researchers. From there it spread to the world. End of story.
David David
David9 May 23, 2021 7:36PM ET
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we need proof... without proof it is all he said she said...
Leonard Kong
Leonard Kong May 23, 2021 7:36PM ET
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I think this is probably right.
Jarek Powichrowski
Jarek Powichrowski May 23, 2021 7:36PM ET
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David David how many more millions of dead people do you need as a proof?
David David
David9 May 23, 2021 7:36PM ET
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why is it that China has 1.45B people but less than 5,000 people died. That is just pure good governance. If they world's government took this serious, the world's death would have been thousands, not millions....
ZS Beck
ZS Beck May 23, 2021 7:36PM ET
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Sure,Maybe if they notified everybody in time and not keep it quiet, then it will never spread that easily.Instead of lying about and still 1 year later trying and hold back information. Simple as that.
David David
David9 May 23, 2021 7:16PM ET
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Still spreading propaganda and playing the blaming game ... we are the Joker in Batman....
danny Levine
danny Levine May 23, 2021 6:42PM ET
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no mention of fauci and bill gates? oh it's Reuters again LOL
David JUSTIC
David JUSTIC May 23, 2021 6:22PM ET
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Can U.S. open up its labs like China did for investigation before talking ***again?
 
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