New York, Mar 1 (EFE).- The director of the FBI Christopher Wray said the bureau believes that the Covid-19 pandemic “most likely” originated from a laboratory leak in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Wray’s claim fuels a divide in the United States intelligence community over the origins of the coronavirus, with other agencies suggesting the virus made a leap from animals to humans.
“The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan,” Wray told Fox News in an interview broadcast Tuesday.
“I will just make the observation that the Chinese government, it seems to me, has been doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate the work here, the work that we’re doing, the work that our US government and close foreign partners are doing. And that’s unfortunate for everybody,” he added.
Wray did not offer evidence for his claim, telling Fox News that there were “not a lot of details that I can share that aren’t classified.”
His comments came shortly after it was revealed the US Department of Energy had offered the same conclusion, albeit with “low confidence,” according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ reported that four other government departments were working on the theory that Covid-19 originated from animals.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Monday said there was yet no consensus on the origin of the virus.
China rebuked the claims, which come at a time of heightened tension over the alleged spy balloon debacle and US concerns over Beijing’s position on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Certain parties should stop rehashing the ‘lab leak’ narrative, stop smearing China and stop politicizing origins-tracing,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said in a regular press conference Tuesday.
The so-called lab leak hypothesis suggests that the virus that causes Covid-19 emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Other more common hypotheses point to a zoonotic virus that potentially emerged at a wet market in the Chinese city, where the first human outbreak of the disease was reported in December 2019.
The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
At least 6.85 million Covid-19 deaths have been documented globally since the outbreak, according to the latest WHO figures.EFE