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British intelligence believes Covid-19 lab leak theory
British intelligence agencies now believe it is "feasible" that the COVID-19 pandemic began with a
coronavirus leak from a Chinese laboratory, a media report said on Sunday
British intelligence agencies now believe it is "feasible" that the COVID-19 pandemic began with a coronavirus leak
from a Chinese laboratory, a media report said on Sunday, prompting UK's Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi to
demand that the WHO must fully investigate the origins of the deadly virus.
The origins of the COVID-19 remain a widely debated topic, with some scientists and politicians maintaining that
the possibility of a lab leak of the deadly virus exists.
Western intelligence, including in Britain, at first considered there was only a "remote" chance that it had leaked
from the laboratory, where research is conducted into bat-derived coronaviruses, including one closely associated
with COVID-19. But there has since been a reassessment, and a lab escape is thought "feasible", the Sunday
Times reported, citing sources.
China's Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) is near the outbreak's known epicenter of Huanan Seafood Market in
Wuhan, where the virus first emerged in late 2019 and became a pandemic. More than 168 million confirmed
cases have since been confirmed worldwide and at least 3.5 million deaths reported.
"There might be pockets of evidence that take us one way, and evidence that takes us another way. The Chinese
will lie either way. I don't think we will ever know," said a western intelligence source familiar with UK involvement
in the investigation.
Agencies are believed to have few human intelligence sources in China. Gathering data there has focused on
trying to recruit on the dark web, where Chinese employees can share secrets anonymously without fear of being
caught, the paper said.
Citing US diplomatic sources, the paper said there were concerns that if the origin could not be determined, this
could happen again a