An Arabic TV program in China suggests coronavirus originated in US

The contention contradicts widespread international and scientific consensus that the virus started in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

A coronavirus testing facility in Wuhan, China. (photo credit: BGI)
A coronavirus testing facility in Wuhan, China.
(photo credit: BGI)
China's Arabic language news outlet claimed that there is evidence that the coronavirus originated in the United States.
The claim, which was made in March, contradicts widespread international and scientific consensus that the virus started in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which tracks and translates TV and social media in the Arab world, wrote on Friday that the Chinese vlogger “Ms. V” said in an episode of China View, published by China’s Global Television Network (CGTN) in Arabic on March 17, that there were multiple indications that the virus started in the US.
These included, according to MEMRI, "the presence of multiple coronavirus strains in the United States; the coincidence between the initial coronavirus outbreak and the 2019 Military World Games in Wuhan in which the US participated; the possibility that the US may have had many coronavirus deaths that have been documented as influenza deaths; and the CDC's shutdown of former US biological weapons research lab Fort Detrick." CGTN has 14 million viewers.
The Washington Times also reported on the show, explaining that, "The TV show host, ‘Ms. V,’ takes the Arab world through a number of unproven conspiracy theories that all point to the United States as the source of COVID-19."
Ms. V said that, "By deciphering the viral genome in Iran and Italy, we found that it is different from the nature of the Virus that was discovered in China, and this also indicates that its source is not from China.”
She added that, “Initially, many thought that the beginning of the virus’ emergence was from one of the seafood markets in Wuhan, but Chinese researchers reported in a new research that the transmission of the new coronavirus had started since last December outside this market, and the virus may have transmitted from a source or other sources to the seafood market, where the rapid spread of transmission began due to the presence of a large number of close contacts within this place."
The vlogger also noted that this research shows that the virus started spreading after the Wuhan International Military Games ended in October 2019. "So, it is expected that the ‘patient zero’ in China had come from outside China," she continued.
"The Asahi Corporation of Japan published a report in the past days indicating the possibility of new cases of coronavirus in the United States among deaths caused by influenza infection, and the US government recently recognized this possibility. This news has caused a widespread debate on social media about the possibility of the virus being transmitted to China from abroad during the period of the Military Olympic Games in Wuhan, which was attended by 109 countries, including the United States."
The Washington Times reported that MEMRI released “the transcript of a China-produced Arabic-language news report to show how Beijing’s propaganda machine is blaming the coronavirus on America... The Middle East is an increasingly ripe target for China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative to build ports, highways and even cities to gain inroads into the oil-rich region and to compete with the US."
Writing in early April in the South China Morning Post, journalist Robert Boxwell quoted Asahi Corp. flatly rejecting the report. “There is no evidence that the US military was responsible for spreading the coronavirus during the Military Olympic Games in Wuhan in October,” wrote
Last week, Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin reported that, "Two years before the novel coronavirus pandemic upended the world, US Embassy officials visited a Chinese research facility in the city of Wuhan several times and sent two official warnings back to Washington about inadequate safety at the lab, which was conducting risky studies on coronaviruses from bats."
He continued that, “The cables have fueled discussions inside the US government about whether this or another Wuhan lab was the source of the virus – even though conclusive proof has yet to emerge.”