China on Friday distanced itself from a tweet put out by one of its officials alleging that the US Army may have brought the deadly coronavirus to Wuhan. China has clarified that origin of the outbreak requires scientific assessment.
China’s official media on Thursday reported that US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield reportedly acknowledged some flu patients in America may have been misdiagnosed and actually had coronavirus.
Referring to Redfiled’s remarks, Zhao Lijian, who until recently was China’s Deputy Ambassador to Pakistan, alleged in his tweet that the US Army might have brought COVID-19 to Wuhan.
CDC was caught on the spot. When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!” Zhao tweeted on Thursday with a video of Redfield’s comments.
His tweet alleging US conspiracy for coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan sparked furore on Twitter.
“There are many different opinions about the source of the coronavirus among the international community. We believe this is a matter of science and required professional and scientific assessment,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang clarified.
Asked whether it was also the Chinese government’s view which has lodged a protest to the US over the issue, Geng said: “what I said represents the Chinese government’s attitude”. When asked whether the media should take Zhao’s tweet as an official position of the Chinese government and the Foreign Ministry as he is one of its spokesmen, Geng replied: “I think you may want to ask certain US officials, do they speak on behalf of the US government when they attacked and smeared China recently”.
China in recent weeks has sharply criticised US officials especially Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for terming the virus as “Wuhan virus” even after the WHO has officially named it COVID-19. On Monday, Geng condemned Pompeo for branding the coronavirus as “Wuhan virus”, terming his remarks as “despicable behaviour” and an attempt to stigmatise the Communist country.
The virus has claimed 4,925 lives and infected 131,500 people across 116 countries and territories. The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday characterised the COVID-19 outbreak as a “pandemic” and expressed deep concern over its “alarming levels” of “spread, severity, as well as inaction.