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Senior military and intelligence expert Colonel Richard Kemp told the Daily Mirror newspaper he was told in March there was a “high probability” the coronavirus disease came from a biological lab in China. Officials in Westminster, Washington and Brussels do not give the theory any credence despite claims.
Last month, Professor David Robertson told the House of Lords the theory was “unlikely”.
Giving evidence, he said: “You have a virus that you think comes from an exotic species and then you have a wildlife market – that seems the most parsimonious explanation.”
Asked whether a leak from a lab was possible, he said: “No, absolutely not. That’s partly what has driven some of these conspiracy theories, is what is the chance they would have this virus in the labs that is close?
“And actually, even though it is close in sequence, it is not close in time.”
“There is really no evidence for this. We can all enjoy a conspiracy theory but you need to have evidence.”
Nonetheless, Colonel Kemp has claimed a foreign intelligence source told him COVID-19 was a “man-made variation” and there was a “very high probability” that the invisible killer virus was released unintentionally from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The senior military and intelligence expert told the Daily Mirror: “I was told then, by a very credible source, that this was ‘highly probable’.
“As with most things in the intelligence world you can rarely say it is absolutely the case but the term ‘highly probable’ means it is very likely to be the case.
“I was also led to believe governments were very unlikely to come out and say it outright, but that China had been made aware that intelligence agencies had significant evidence.
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“The high probability, I was told, is that the virus came from an animal that had been involved in testing in the Wuhan Institute of Virology and had ended up in the wet market.
“It was believed then and now the carcass was infected with coronavirus and that an unscrupulous member of staff sold it for personal profit without considering it may be infected. That is how it got out.
“I have known the source for many years and come to trust this person as serious and not given to false claims.
“In intelligence terms it means we have to take it very seriously as it means it is known to be true but cannot be backed up by absolute evidence.”
China has strenuously denied the claims and the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence has said it regards the coronavirus as a natural phenomenon.
The UK also does not officially give credence to the theory.
Meanwhile there are claims in the US that China did not share their information on the virus at the early stages of the infection in the country.
The protocol is two inform the WHO with exact information on a newly discovered viral strain within 48 hours. But Beijing took weeks to do this.
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