Biden order to review COVID-19 origin revives conspiracy theories

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CNN reported in April 2020 that the intelligence community was investigating if the novel coronavirus spread from a Chinese laboratory rather than a market in Wuhan, China. Covid-19 was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.

But a year later and things are changing, and Facebook will no longer take down posts claiming that Covid-19 was man-made or manufactured.

Facebook said Wednesday it would no longer ban posts suggesting COVID-19 is man-made amid mounting calls from President Biden and other officials for further investigation into the pandemic's origins.

The Wall Street Journal was first to report the intelligence surrounding the earlier hospitalizations.

President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he had asked the U.S. intelligence community to "redouble their efforts" to find a definitive answer to the virus' origins.

"After the outbreak of the pandemic, China took the lead to support the World Health Organization in conducting researches on origin-tracing on a global scale", said Zhao, adding that the World Health Organization team in China jointly made field trips, analyzed a large number of statistics, issued an authoritative study report, and reached many significant conclusions, which "actively promoted the origin-tracing globally". The team's 40-page report devoted just three pages to the lab-leak hypothesis, and members of the mission have said they were not qualified or able to conduct a thorough investigation of the hypothesis.

Describing the lab experiments, he said: 'Two or three years ago they were doing what were called gainer function tests, they were fiddling with the genetic structure of coronavirus to see what would make into a pandemic virus.

"I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we find out to the best of our ability what happened", said Dr Fauci, who is Mr Biden's chief medical adviser.

Air France among airlines to suspend flights over Belarus after plane ‘hijacking’
That could mean land-locked Belarus could soon be reached by air only over its eastern border with close ally Russian Federation . Many expect that the move to ban Belarus from European airspace will be followed by heavy sanctions.

The announcement came after a U.S. intelligence report found several researchers at China's Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill in November 2019 and had to be hospitalized - a new detail that fueled fresh public pressure on Biden to delve deeper into the origin of the virus. The report said there was "no reporting of Covid-19 compatible respiratory illness during the weeks/months prior to December 2019, and no serological evidence of infection in workers through SARS-CoV-2-specific serology-screening".

Origin-tracing of the virus is a scientific issue, not political manipulation, said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Wednesday. He also warned that uncertainty may persist, noting that the origin of the 2014 Ebola outbreak still isn't fully understood.

"How could it have leaked from our lab when we never had it?" she said.

US politicians from both parties are agitating for answers.

Biden said, he received a report from the intelligence committee, wherein it showed that they were divided over the origins of the pandemic. Beijing has pushed the idea that the virus originated elsewhere.

But top USA trade negotiator Katherine Tai has said she is analysing whether the terms of that pact have been met by China, with some experts saying Beijing is falling up to 40 percent short on its agreement to buy United States goods.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.

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