Asked on Thursday if he had seen information that gave him a “high degree of confidence” that the virus emanated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, Mr Trump told reporters: “Yes, I have.”
When pressed on what had given him the confidence to make the claim, the US president said: “I’m not allowed to tell you that.”
The office of the director of national intelligence earlier said it “will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan”.
It, however, said it agreed “with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified”.
Defending its focus on the Chinese lab, the Hogan Gidley, White House spokesman, had said: As the president has said, the United States is thoroughly investigating this matter.”
“Understanding the origins of the virus is important to help the world respond to this pandemic but also to inform rapid-response efforts to future infectious disease outbreaks.”
The US has the highest number of COVID-19 infections and deaths globally — with 1,095,304 confirmed cases and 63,871 deaths.
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