Conspiracy theory linking the origin of coronavirus to the US was reignited after a Chinese government official claimed that the virus was developed in an Army biolab based at Fort Detrick. Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, made the startling revelation in response to the US state department claims of having new evidence that proves Covid-19 leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
China has been mired with a series of allegations related to the origin of coronavirus after it reported the first case of deadly virus in December 2019. In numerous claims, Wuhan Institute of Virology has been blamed to be the originator of coronavirus.
US Should Be Transparent About Fort Detrick, Demands Chinese Spokeswoman
According to The Guardian, while accusing US of spreading false information and conspiracy theories related to China, Hua said: "I'd like to stress that if the United States truly respects facts, it should open the biological lab at Fort Detrick, give more transparency to issues like its 200-plus overseas bio-labs, invite WHO experts to conduct origin-tracing in the United States, and respond to the concerns from the international community with real actions."
It was in March last year when the Chinese government first hinted at the possibility of the virus being developed in the US military lab. According to The Sun, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian had said: "When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!"
Recently, Michael Ryan, WHO Director of the health emergencies program, said that it was "highly speculative" to argue that coronavirus came from outside China. He had asked to begin the investigation where the first confirmed human cases of COVID-19 were reported.
Fort Detrick Trends on Social Media Platforms
Following Hua's explosive claims, Fort Detrick, a US Army Medical Command facility in Maryland that was opened in 1931, was soon one of the trending topics on Weibo, China's version of Twitter. The hashtag 'biological laboratory in US Fort Detrick' was viewed more than 900 million times on Weibo, reported The Guardian.
"Why don't they answer any of those questions? Because they can't even answer any one of them without hiding," said a netizen on Sina Weibo as other added, "I dare to ask, but do you dare to answer?" said another.
It was also trending on Twitter with several users questioning the lab's role in the origin of the global pandemic. "Open up the Fort Detrick lab and let World Health Organization organize the experts to do the work. It will turn out that the virus originated in this laboratory, not in China, but in the United States," wrote a user.
"The results of China's response to the new coronavirus are obvious to all people in the world. Instead, Fort Detrick's Biological Laboratory was urgently closed and immediately withdrawn from the World Health Organization. The truth behind it is worth digging deeper," wrote another.