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White House says no consensus on COVID-19 origin following reports of lab leak

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The Biden administration has not reached a consensus over the origins of COVID-19 following reports that the coronavirus likely arose from a Chinese laboratory leak, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Monday.

“There is not a consensus on what caused COVID to start. There’s just no consensus across the government. The work continues. And I’m not going to get ahead of conclusions that haven’t been arrived at yet,” Kirby said at a press briefing.

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The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the US Energy Department concluded the coronavirus pandemic likely arose from a Chinese laboratory leak.

The department made its judgment with “low confidence” in a classified intelligence report recently provided to the White House and key members of Congress, the Journal said, citing people who had read the intelligence report.

The NSC spokesperson said that the administration wants China’s “full cooperation in a full, transparent way.”

“We have consistently made it clear that we want China’s full cooperation in a full, transparent way with the investigations into COVID,” Kirby told reporters at the press conference.

Meanwhile, China denied the report on Monday, saying that international experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) had rejected the theory as “extremely unlikely.”

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said that origins-tracing “is about science and should not be politicized.”

US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns said on Monday that China must be more honest “about what happened three years ago in Wuhan with the origin of the COVID-19 crisis” and take a more active role in the WHO.

Since the outbreak first began in December 2019, there has been several theories on the origins of the coronavirus – from a lab leak to natural occurrences.

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