Coronavirus lab leak theory discussed by G7 leaders, WHO boss confirms

12 June 2021, 22:42

G7 leaders have discussed the possibility Covid came from a lab leak
G7 leaders have discussed the possibility Covid came from a lab leak. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

G7 leaders have discussed the possibility the coronavirus pandemic began after a Chinese lab leak.

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said "it was raised" as the summit "discussed about the origins".

US President Joe Biden has ordered intelligence agencies to investigate if Covid came from a leak.

Experts have long proposed the pandemic began from animal to human transmission, with WHO experts saying in February it was "extremely unlikely" to have come from a laboratory incident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

However, the organisation, which has not been allowed to fully investigate in China, has said "all hypotheses still remain on the table" and it wants to carry out a second phase of its work.

'Serious consequences' await China if lab leak theory is true

Dr Tedros said at the summit in Cornwall: "We believe that all hypotheses should be open, and we need to proceed to the second phase to really know the origins."

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He said the nearly 3.75 million people who have died from Covid deserve to have the virus's origin known "so that we can prevent this from happening again".

Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO's health emergencies programme, said: "All hypotheses still remain on the table.

"Further studies will be needed to elucidate the origins of the virus.

"We would like to move forward as quickly as possible with that second phase and bringing in further expertise, engaging with our member states to ensure that we have an appropriate terms of reference, an appropriate team and an appropriate approach where we can all move forward together in collaboration to understand the origins of the virus."