US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US had “enormous evidence” that the COVID-19 pandemic originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, echoing a claim previously made by US President Donald Trump.
“There is enormous evidence that this is where it began,” Pompeo said to ABC news. “These are not the first times that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab.”
Pompeo declined to say whether he believed the virus had been intentionally released.
On Thursday, Trump also claimed at the White House press conference that he had seen evidence that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab, ratcheting up tensions with Beijing over the origins of the outbreak.
“Yes, yes I have,” Trump said when asked by a journalist if he had seen evidence that gave him a “high degree of confidence” the coronavirus came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The Chinese Wuhan Institute of Virology firmly dismissed the allegations. Beijing has suggested the US military might have brought the virus to China.
Trump also said it was possible that Bejing either could not stop the spread of the coronavirus or allowed it to spread.