A Chinese virologist who fled the country for the United States has claimed that the government of Xi Jinping has been covering up the truth about the coronavirus pandemic and that he is gathering “solid evidence” about the real origins of Covid-19. “The virus did not originate in nature and did not emerge from the market in Wuhan,” Li-Meng Yan, who says he was employed by the Chinese authorities to study the coronavirus alongside the World Health Organization (WHO), said in an interview with Spanish daily El Mundo.
Yan made similar claims on Fox News in the US, telling the station that China knew about the existence of the coronavirus before the outbreak in Wuhan was officially announced in December 2019.
Conspiracy theories concerning Covid-19 have abounded since a pandemic was declared by the WHO in 11 March. Some believe the coronavirus is linked to 5G technology while others have proposed the theory that it is a lab-based virus and not a naturally occurring disease. Although it has never been officially confirmed, the novel coronavirus is thought to have originated in a so-called “wet market” in Wuhan, where live animals are available for sale. Early reports indicated the virus initially made the jump from animals to humans through bats.
US President Donald Trump has consistently blamed China for not acting quickly enough to contain the novel coronavirus and has himself suggested that the World Health Organization, from which he promised to withdraw the US in May, failed to carry out its duties as an international watchdog by allowing China to delay or withhold information about the outbreak.
Yan told El Mundo that he first became aware of what was happening in China when a member of the country’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention told him “that in Wuhan [the authorities] already knew that it was a new strain of SARS and that they had even completed genome sequencing.”
“Wuhan is not the origin of the outbreak”
Yan told El Mundo he is working on a “report based on solid medical evidence to provide the truth about the virus and its origins.”
“The market in Wuhan is not the source of the outbreak and a wild animal is not the intermediary host,” Yan said. “The coronavirus did not originate in nature. The market is just a smokescreen.”
The virologist added that he has copies of all the conversations he held with his colleagues about Covid-19 and claimed that China suppressed information from the outset: “The government deliberately withheld information about the virus. For weeks, they denied that medical personnel were being infected while patients displaying Covid-19 symptoms were left in communal areas of hospitals without being isolated and without any kind of PPE.”
Yan also stated that he warned a WHO contractor, Lee Poon, about the rapid spread of the coronavirus. The virologist said he was told to remain silent on the subject so as not to endanger his life. “He told me to be careful, to not step on the red line; that is to say, to not go against government procedures or question their principles. If not, I would find myself in trouble and I could disappear,” Yan said.
However, the WHO has roundly denied these claims, stating that they have no record of Yan working at a high-level lab specialized in virus detection and pandemics pertaining to the WHO. The organization also said it has no record of anyone named Lee Poon on file.
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