08:18 GMT11 April 2021
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    Citing the example of an artificial, lab-developed virus, the National Rally leader has asserted that it makes sense to doubt any statements about the place of origin of COVID-19.

    President of the French right-wing party National Rally Marine Le Pen considers it fair to wonder whether the currently raging coronavirus has artificial origins and was intentionally designed in a lab.

    “People’s question about if its origins are natural or whether it is lab-produced is a reasonable one”, Le Pen told the radio station France Info.

    The politician, who according to BFM-TV, opted to self-quarantine after allegedly contacting a coronavirus-infected person, went on to note that she personally doesn’t stick to any concrete point of view.

    “In history - and I know this because I do my best to be educated - there were a few diseases, which originated in laboratories, for instance, myxomatosis”, the politician remarked.

    According to a recent poll, about 40 percent of National Rally voters believe that the virus was really developed “on purpose”, while only 15 percent consider its emergence to be “accidental”.

    Speculation has been running high in the media and on social networks over the origins of the novel type of the dangerous coronavirus.

    Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas said he was looking into holding China "accountable" for the coronavirus pandemic, later replying to a Twitter message suggesting that "China will pay for this" with one word: “correct”, he commented in the thread.

    Earlier in February, Cotton did not rule out the possibility that the coronavirus may have been developed by the Chinese in a "superlaboratory", assuming that the damage from the virus could be "worse than Chernobyl”.

    A Chinese official, in turn, has alleged that the US military may have shipped the coronavirus to Wuhan. "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", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian wrote on Twitter, while the authorities circulated the statement dismissing the US senator’s claims.

    Separately, Trump has on a few occasions referred to COVID-19 as “the Chinese virus", with many suggesting that it was intentional and picking up on it despite POTUS stressing straight away that he merely meant that it originated on Chinese soil. 

    According to China's Foreign Ministry, the country has offered assistance to 82 countries as well as the WHO and the African Union, namely in the provision of test kits, masks, etc., with the number of coronavirus cases remaining stable in the world's second biggest economy.

    Chinese envoy to the United States Cui Tiankai argued that Washington first started the COVID-19 blame game, stressing that the Chinese side hasn’t lowered statistics or tamped down on reports about the virus, but has opted to verify the data before making it public.

    The disease, which was declared a pandemic by the WHO earlier in March, has been sweeping across the world for the past few months, with the total number of confirmed cases hitting 746,000 to date. The worst affected countries remain Italy and Spain, where the death tally is the biggest in the world, 10,779 and 7,340 respectively, per Worldometers.info.

    Meanwhile, the US tops the ranking in terms of the number of overall confirmed coronavirus cases (142,793).

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    pandemic, coronavirus, COVID-19, blame game
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