During Wednesday’s House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic hearing, an expert witness slammed China for blocking attempts at investigating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Jamie Metzl, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told lawmakers that a bipartisan investigation into the origins of the pandemic is “three years overdue” and that holding China accountable for its lack of transparency should be prioritized.
Metzl’s comments came shortly after a U.S. federal agency determined that the most likely cause of the pandemic was a leak from a virology lab in Wuhan, China.
“We are primarily here because the Chinese government has done everything in its power to prevent the type of investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic that is three years overdue and still urgently required. We are also here because there is more that we in the United States can and must do to push forward, even if China continues to stonewall,” Metzl said in his opening remarks, according to Fox News.
The Chinese government has denied allegations that it has not cooperated with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) investigation into the origins of COVID-19. However, a report published in Nature on Tuesday said that the WHO canceled the “second phase” of its investigations into the pandemic’s origins because China would not allow researchers access to conduct their studies.
“While the question of pandemic origins remains open, there can be no doubt that a research-related origin remains a very serious possibility, if not a distinct probability. There is no smoking gun proving a laboratory origin hypothesis, but the growing body of circumstantial evidence suggests a gun that is at very least warm to the touch,” Metzl told House lawmakers.
He said it is “inconceivable” that three years have passed since the pandemic began and there still has not been a full investigation into COVID-19’s origins.
“The primary reason there has been no comprehensive investigation into COVID-19 origins is the reprehensible actions of the Chinese government,” Metzl said. “Since the early days of the pandemic, China’s government has destroyed samples, hidden records, imprisoned brave Chinese journalists, gagged Chinese scientists, actively spread misinformation and done pretty much everything possible to prevent the kind of unfettered, evidence based investigation that is so urgently required.”
“Every person on earth must demand accountability from China, calling for a full investigation of pandemic origin,” Metzl added.
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