Covid Wuhan lab leak theory is 'feasible', British spies say - reports

30 May 2021, 17:31 | Updated: 30 May 2021, 22:20

Reports suggest the theory that Covid was leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology are now "feasible", according to British spies
Reports suggest the theory that Covid was leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology are now "feasible", according to British spies. Picture: Getty
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

British intelligence agencies now believe it is "feasible" that coronavirus was leaked from a research laboratory in Wuhan, China, according to reports.

The UK's intelligence operatives are now believed to be investigating the possibility of Covid-19 leaking from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Beijing has strongly refuted the claim, which many have thrown away as a conspiracy theory, according to LBC's Maajid Nawaz.

The pandemic has since gone on to cause more than 3.5 million deaths and is still raging in some corners of the globe.

According to the report in the Times, the development has pushed US diplomatic sources into sharing their concerns that the planet is "one wet market or bio lab away from the next spillover".

China has previously faced claims that the Wuhan lab could be the suspected source of the virus.

Watch: 'Incredibly serious consequences' for China if lab theory true - Maajid Nawaz

Read More: 'Far more likely' coronavirus came from lab, ex-MI6 chief tells LBC

Maajid Nawaz said on Sunday that if the theory is proven to be true, Beijing will face the full force of the international community.

"If it did come from a lab, just imagine the consequences," he said during his weekend show.

He told listeners that the "consequences are incredibly serious" for the Chinese regime if the theory is proved, because "the entire planet for the first time in history has been locked down because of this thing" and the Chinese Communist Party would have to foot the bill at the very least.

Having been outspoken on the topic, the radio presenter felt somewhat vindicated by the news, adding: "Anyone who was pointing to the obvious was dismissed as a conspiracy theorist, that's what so infuriating about all of this."

Elsewhere on Sunday, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the World Health Organisation (WHO) must be allowed to probe the origins of the coronavirus outbreak.

Read More: WHO and global leadership failed to stop 'preventable' pandemic - report

Read More: Wuhan lab staff treated by hospitals before Covid-19 declared - report

"I think it's really important that the WHO is allowed to conduct its investigation unencumbered into the origins of this pandemic and that we should leave no stone unturned to understand why, not only because of the current pandemic that has swept the world, but also for future-proofing the world's capability to deal with pandemics," he told Sky News.

Mr Zahawi was asked if he could trust the organisation after a team of its experts and some from China said in February that the virus was "extremely unlikely" to have entered the human population as a result of a laboratory-related incident.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO, said that he did not believe the initial report was "extensive enough" and called for more research, adding that all hypotheses "remain on the table".

Mr Zahawi said: "I think the WHO at every step of the way has tried to share as much data with the world as it is able to verify."

It comes after US President Joe Biden ordered his intelligence officials to "redouble" their efforts to investigate the origins of the pandemic, including any possibility the search might lead to a Chinese laboratory.

Mr Biden asked those agencies to report back within 90 days, and he said that he aimed to release their results publicly.