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Kremlin says unfounded accusations of man-made origin of COVID-19 unacceptable

The Kremlin spokesman stressed that Russian specialists are keeping in contact with the Chinese side and exchanging information

MOSCOW, April 22. /TASS/. The Kremlin says it is inappropriate to put forward groundless accusations that the virus causing COVID-19 was specifically created.

"We believe it is unacceptable and inadmissible to resort to any unfounded accusations aimed at anybody," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters commenting on suppositions of a number of American media outlets saying that the novel coronavirus is not of natural origin, hinting that it could have been allegedly manufactured in a Chinese lab.

Peskov stressed that Russian specialists are keeping in contact with the Chinese side and exchanging information. "The Chinese are working on their vaccines, we have processes moving forward in various spheres. Overall, the situation requires international cooperation," the spokesman added.

Peskov emphasized that now "every time when a certain representative or expert claims or gives a hint that the virus was man-made, simultaneously two more representatives or experts appear" who disprove such a hypothesis.

"Both categories are talking without any evidence. We are likely to lack enough information to make any conclusions," he stressed.

Virus’s origin disputes

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier announced that he expects Chinese authorities to grant access to foreign specialists to the lab in Wuhan where, as certain American media outlets claim, the virus allegedly originated from.

Spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian, in turn, slammed the virus’s artificial nature theory as not backed by any evidence. The remark came as a response to a Fox News publication alleging that an unidentified staffer of the Wuhan lab was ‘patient zero’ for the outbreak.

Head of Russia’s Federal Medical Biological Agency (FMBA) Veronika Skvortsova conceded that the theory of the novel coronavirus’s artificial origin cannot theoretically be ruled out. However, she pointed out "that there cannot be any guesswork here as very serious research must be carried out."

At the same time, World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Fadela Chaib revealed that WHO on this issue "is guided by scientific data and believes that the virus is of animal origin."

In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus — named COVID-19 by the WHO — have been reported in every corner of the globe. On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.