UK’s Covid Inquiry Hears Virus May Have Been ‘Man Made’

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British government minister Michael Gove was cut off by the Counsel to the UK Covid-19 Inquiry after he expressed there is a “significant body of judgement” that the Coronavirus was man-made, the first establishment figure in the country to say so in such stark terms.

Michael Gove, presently the housing minister but previously the minister for the Cabinet Office — “the corporate headquarters for government” responsible for an efficient and effective state — during the Coronavirus era, testified to the UK Covid-19 Inquiry on Tuesday, offering an apology to families for government failures but also being the first figure in government to question the origins of coronavirus publicly.

Being questioned by Counsel to the Inquiry Hugo Keith, a senior trial lawyer Mr Gove said the government was not as well prepared for the arrival of a novel virus, but said the possible origin of Coronavirus made being prepared much harder. He told the inquiry: “It is in the nature of the fact the virus was novel. And indeed — though I think this probably goes beyond the remit of the inquiry — there is a significant body of judgment that believes that the virus itself was man-made — and that presents its own set of challenges as well.”

Having mentioned the potential origin of Coronavirus, Gove was spoken over by Keith who dismissed discussion on the subject, saying it is a “somewhat divisive issue, so we won’t go there”.

No other member of the British government has gone so far in suggesting Coronavirus may have been lab-made, although the UK has previously unsuccessfully attempted to pressure China to cooperate with the World Health Organisation’s fact-finding mission attempting to discover the origins of the virus. The United States Department of State has also criticised China for its lack of cooperation. A 2021 fact sheet noted that researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were sick as early as Autumn 2019, and reported:

For more than a year, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has systematically prevented a transparent and thorough investigation of the COVID-19 pandemic’s origin, choosing instead to devote enormous resources to deceit and disinformation…

…The U.S. government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak…

…Today’s revelations just scratch the surface of what is still hidden about COVID-19’s origin in China. Any credible investigation into the origin of COVID-19 demands complete, transparent access to the research labs in Wuhan, including their facilities, samples, personnel, and records.

Gove’s remarks prompted a response on social media — including from those astounded such a thing had finally been said by a government minister, and by those criticising Gove for alleged deadcatting — and even a statement from the Prime Minister’s spokesman appearing to cautiously back up the admission. The Daily Telegraph reports Downing Street said, appearing to reference the 2021 call on China to allow an investigation, that: “The Government’s view is that the WHO needs to continue to examine all possibilities. We think there is still work to be done. But it is for the WHO to investigate.”


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