CHINA has shamelessly demanded that the World Health Organisation (WHO) investigate a military lab in the US over the origins of Covid.
It comes as the Communist Party regime reacted with fury as WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus ordered a fresh probe into claims that SARS-CoV2 may have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying called on WHO to instead turn their focus to the US military lab at Fort Detrick in Maryland during a briefing on Wednesday.
And meanwhile, Communist Party-owned media also blasted the apparent U-turn by WHO as they accused them of caving into pressure from the West -fuming they are indulging in "James Bond" fantasies rather than science.
The lab leak theory remains a contender for the original origins of Covid as details of how the virus emerged remain shrouded in mystery some 15 months since the bug was first detected in Wuhan.
Chunying also said other laboratories around the world should also be investigated as she continued China's efforts to deflect blame over Beijing's role in the early days of the outbreak.
She said: "As you know, the Wuhan labs have already been inspected. But when Fort Detrick will open its doors to experts?"
The spokeswoman also said China would continue to cooperate with WHO, but insisted its investigations must "not be limited to some region of the world".
"As for the possibility that the virus leaked after a lab incident, members of the expert group said that they would inspect laboratories all over the world if the need arises," she added.
US military labs at Fort Detrick research infectious diseases – and were temporarily closed in 2019 due to two "breaches of containment", but it was said no one was exposed to any agents or toxins.
China and its state media have long attempted to use the lab as a shield to deflect from questions about WIV – the lab which was known to carrying out controversial gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses before the first outbreak in Wuhan.
It came as Dr Tedros appeared to turn on his own investigators yesterday as the WHO-China joint investigation team released a long awaited and much derided report which ruled out the possibility as "extremely unlikely".
He called for investigations into the pandemic's origins to delve deeper into the theory about a possible lab incident, which the mission had all but ruled out in the report released just minutes before on Tuesday.
The WHO chief also voiced concern that the international team had difficulty accessing raw data during the mission – with China feared to have concealed much information about the early days of Covid.
The apparent U-turn by WHO came as the report stated the lab leak was "extremely unlikely" – and endorsed Chinese suggestions the virus may have not even originated in Wuhan.
Investigations into Covid's origins have been marred by politics and have seen renewed tensions between China and the West.
US President Joe Biden's White House even raised questions about the WHO investigation after his predecessor Donald Trump had repeatedly blamed China and openly suggested the lab was to blame.
Chinese state media reacted with characteristic fury as WHO reopened the possibility of the lab leak despite their efforts as part of the joint team to steer them to other possibilities.
Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, the state owned tabloid which is often seen as the unfiltered voice of the Communist Party,blasted the US.
"The US has fabricated a conclusion that the virus was leaked from a Wuhan lab. It expected WHO to conduct Sherlock Holmes detective work to validate this charge," he wrote on Twitter.
"It prefers to assemble a James Bond + Ethan Hunt team. But the biggest enemy of the US is facts."
His paper also published a string of articles which reacted badly as the US and the UK, along with 12 other countries, raised concerns over the joint study.
"The US has been doing the worst job in the global pandemic fight. It not only has been jealous of and attacked China's excellent response to the pandemic, but it has also exerted pressure on WHO," It fumed.
"Washington is rude. It has torn down all kinds of common sense about public health and humiliated science with politics."
Its accusations of the US putting pressure on WHO comes as China itself has been accused of leaning on the United Nations to try push through its own account of the origins of the virus.
Chinese state media also went on the attack as it blasted Western outlets for asking questions over the WHO report and the possibility of a lab leak.
One article raged: "They do not care about science at all. All they want is that the WHO declares Wuhan is where the Covid-19 first appeared in the world.
"For them, it would be even better if the WHO announces the Wuhan Institute of Virology had leaked the virus."
What do we know about the Wuhan Institute of Virology?
THE WUHAN Institute of Virology is the highest security lab of its kind in all of China – and can be found right at the heart of the origins of the global pandemic.
Various theories have been swirling about the lab, which is headed up by Chinese scientist Dr Shi Zhengli, known as “Bat Woman”.
Most scientists do not believe the virus leaked from the lab, and the lab itself has categorically denied the claims.
The lab specialised in bat-borne viruses and had been carrying out experiences on them since 2015.
Airlocks, full body suits, and chemical showers are required before entering and leaving the lab – the first in China to be accredited with biosafety level 4 (BSL-4).
BSL-4 labs are the only places in the world where scientists can study diseases that have no cure.
Scientists from the lab even tested mysterious virus which killed three miners 1,000 miles away in Yunnan province back in 2012.
It has been suggested this fatal mystery bug may have been the true origin of Covid-19.
Experts at the lab also engineered a new type of hybrid 'super-virus' that can infect humans in 2015, according to medical journal Nature Medicine
Despite fears surrounding the research, the study was designed to show the risk of viruses carried by bats which could be transmitted to humans.
There is no suggestion the facility's 2015 work is linked to the pandemic.
The lab was also recruiting new scientists to probe coronaviruses in bats just seven days before the outbreak.
China has began tightening security around its biolabs with President Xi Jinping saying it was a “national security” issue to improve scientific safety at a meeting last February.
WHO's joint investigation saw them spend a week in the Communist Party-state as they were given a carefully stage-managed look at data and evidence accrued by China.
The 123-page report yesterday was blasted by many politicians and scientists, with China long accused of attempting to cover up or distort its role in the story of Covid.
The new report concluded that the virus – which has killed 2.8million people – "likely" crossed from animals to mankind through an as of yet unknown creature.
And the paper agreed with the Chinese explanation that its "possible" it could have arrived in Wuhan on frozen food – suggesting the virus may have even originated outside of China.
The only one of the four prongs of the WHO investigation which was seemingly dismissed was the possibility of a lab leak from WIV – even though this was overturned just minutes later by Dr Tedros.
Scientists who were on the team have already broken cover and revealed China did not hand over all the data they requested, and there was always “politics in the room”.
Documents already revealed Beijing downplayed the bug to “protect its image“, and there have been repeated allegations that China has manipulated its death and case figures.
Jamie Metzl, a WHO advisor and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, who helped organise an open letter signed by 26 scientists calling for a new independent investigation, blasted the probe.
He told The Sun Online: "This joint report isn’t just inadequate, it’s an insult to the billions of people around the world who have suffered from the pandemic."
Tom Tugendhat MP, chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, told The Sun Online: “China’s cover up continues. Even though we need to know where the virus started, Beijing is still blocking scientists to hide the mistakes that unmask their failures.”
He added: "Dictatorships hide the truth by default because they are frightened of their own people – so they must not show weakness, and that is exactly what we are seeing here."
Tobias Ellwood MP, chair of the Defence Select Committee, told The Sun Online: "Is it right – were this to happen again – that any state can deny the rest of world access for an entire year to discover the cause of the pandemic knowing the scale of death and damage to our economies?
"China has a lot to answer. We know what immense pressure Dr Tedros is under given how China has retaliated to calls for an investigation, but he clearly is not satisfied."
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