'Great evidence' that the coronavirus came from the Chinese laboratory: EE. USA
WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that huge tests showed the new one originated from a laboratory in China, further fueling tensions with Beijing over its handling of the outbreak.
Pompeo's comments came as Europe and parts of the United States prepared to cautiously lift virus blocks as signs emerge that the deadly pandemic is waning and governments are looking to restart their battered economies.
More than 243,000 people have been killed and 3.4 million infected worldwide by the virus, which has left half of humanity in some form and has pushed the world economy into its worst recession since the Great Depression.
United States President Donald Trump, increasingly critical of China's management of the first outbreak in the city of Wuhan in December, said last week that he had evidence that it started in a Chinese laboratory.
Scientists believe the virus jumped from animals to humans, after emerging in China, possibly from a market in Wuhan that sells exotic animals for meat.
Trump, without elaborating, said Thursday that he had seen evidence that the Wuhan Virology Institute was the source, and appeared to echo speculation fueled by right-wing U.S. radio commentators about a secret laboratory.
China denies the claims, and even the office of the US Director of National Intelligence has said analysts are still examining the exact origin of the outbreak.
Pompeo, a former CIA chief, told ABC that he agreed with a statement by the U.S. intelligence community about the broad scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was neither man-made nor genetically modified.
But Pompeo went further than Trump, citing huge and significant evidence that the virus originated in a Wuhan lab.
I think everyone can see now, remember, China has a history of infecting the world and operating substandard laboratories.
Pompeo said that China's first efforts to minimize the coronavirus amounted to a classic communist disinformation effort. That created enormous risk.
President Trump is very clear: we will hold those responsible accountable.
US news reports say Trump has tasked American spies with finding out more about the virus's origins as it makes China's handling of the pandemic a centerpiece of his campaign for the November presidential election.
The United States has the highest number of coronavirus deaths in the world with more than 66,000 and Trump is eager for a change to help reduce economic pain, with tens of millions out of work.
Florida is slated to ease its shutdown Monday as other states grapple with pressure from protesters, some armed, who have rallied against the restrictions.
There are signs that the pandemic is slowing down in some parts of the United States.
In New York, the epicenter of the US outbreak. In the US, an emergency campaign hospital built in Central Park will close as virus cases decline.
Across the Atlantic, European nations prepared for cautious restraint of restrictions.
Italy, which had its lowest daily toll since orders to stay home were imposed on March 10, will follow Spain by allowing people to leave.
Italians from Monday will be able to walk through the parks and visit their relatives. Restaurants may open to go and wholesale stores may resume business, but there was some confusion about the rules.
The Romans were doing aerobics on the rooftop terraces and exercising indoors, while the squares in the city center were nearly empty the last day the Italians were forced to stay less than 200 meters from their homes. .
On the one hand, we are very excited about the reopening, we are already organizing various activities that the children will be able to do with their grandparents outdoors, said Marghe Lodoli, a resident of Rome, who has three children.
On the other hand, it is disorienting. The rules are not clear, and we are not sure whether to use common sense.
Italian authorities have said some preventive measures are still needed in a country that has the second highest number of deaths from the virus.
Elsewhere, Germany will continue its relaxation on Monday, while Poland and Hungary will allow public spaces and businesses to partially reopen.
In another sign of life, an influential German minister said Sunday that he supports the resumption of the country's soccer season this month, as long as the teams respect hygiene conditions.
The British government will reveal its own roadmap to ease the blockade this week, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country had passed the peak of the outbreak.
But with health experts warning that the disease could strike once again, governments are trying to balance the restrictions to ease companies against the risk of further outbreaks.
Most governments stick to measures to control the spread of the virus (social distancing and masks in public) and more tests to try to track infections, even while relaxing the curves.
Facial masks will be mandatory on public transportation starting Monday in Spain, where people were allowed to go outdoors to exercise and walk freely on Saturday after a 48-day shutdown.
Despite some European countries gradually lifting the restrictions, officials in Moscow, the epicenter of contagion in Russia, urged residents to stay home.
With cases increasing by several thousand each day, Russia is now the European country with the most new infections.
European leaders are supporting a Brussels initiative to raise € 7.5 billion ($ 8.3 billion) to tackle the pandemic and raise funds for efforts to find a vaccine for COVID-19, the disease. caused by the coronavirus.
The race is on to find a viable vaccine or treatment with several countries involved in trials.
In Asia, South Korea, once the second most affected nation on the planet, said on Sunday it would ease the ban on some meetings and events as long as disinfection measures continue.
Thailand allowed companies such as restaurants, beauty salons and open-air markets to reopen as long as social distancing was maintained and temperature controls were carried out.
But experts warn that many countries have not yet gone through the worst.
The Philippines suspended all flights in and out of the country for a week from Sunday in a bid to ease pressure on its congested quarantine facilities.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that mosques would reopen in much of the Islamic Republic, after they closed in early March to try to contain the deadliest Covid-19 outbreak in the Middle East.
Rouhani cautioned, however, that while Iran would quietly and gradually reopen, it should also prepare for bad scenarios.