At long last, British intelligence agencies have come around to believing that COVID-19 pandemic may have originated with a coronavirus leak from a China's Wuhan laboratory.
Following a media report that revealed the development, UK's Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi demanded that the World Health Organization (WH) must investigate the origins of the virus that killed more than three million people worldwide.
British intelligence had initially assessed that was only a feeble chance of the deadly virus leaking from the laboratory that conducted extensive bat research. However, according to their new assessment, the possibility that the virus originated in the lab is high, the Sunday Times reported, citing sources.
"There might be pockets of evidence that take us one way, and evidence that takes us another way. The Chinese will lie either way. I don''t think we will ever know," said an intelligence source told the Reuters news agency.
This development comes in the backdrop of the US President, Joe Biden, asking the intelligence agencies to have a fresh look at the lab leak angle. The previous administration of President Donald Trump had actively supported the theory, much to the chagrin of China.
Trump's position had also earned him criticism and ridicule in his country, even as the WHO seemingly defended the Chinese position by preparing a report that nearly absolved the Asian power of any moral responsibility.
Biden ordered the US intelligence agencies last week to "redouble" their efforts in finding the source of the virus.
The strong speculation was sparked immediately after the virus gave rise to a pandemis as China's Wuhan Institute of Virology is situated very close to the outbreak's known epicentre, the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan.
It was in the sea food market that virus was first detected in late 2019. More than 168 million people across the world have now been infected with the virus and the world economy has taken a massive hit in the aftermath of extended lockdowns that crippled economic activity.
The Sunday Times, citing US diplomatic sources, said that if the origin of the virus is not determined that could happen again and we are one wet market or bio lab away from the next spillover.
UK's Vaccines Minister Zahawi said the WHO must be fully investigate the origins of the coronavirus once again. It is important that the WHO is allowed to conduct its investigation unencumbered, he said. "We should leave no stone unturned," he added.
The new developments are a fresh blow to China as it has been strongly denying that the coronavirus broke out in Wuhan. According to China, the epidemic broke out in different parts of the world.