05:23 GMT16 January 2021
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    US President Donald Trump is standing by his previous conspiracy theory that the COVID-19 novel coronavirus was unleashed onto to the world following a possible mishap at China's Wuhan Institute of Virology.

    "Something happened," Trump, referring to the virology lab, asserted to reporters on Thursday after being questioned about his unsubstantiated theory on COVID-19's origin. 

    "Probably it was incompetence. Somebody was stupid," he added amid a White House photo-op with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, as reported by the pool.

    While Trump's evidence of the virus' link to the Wuhan lab remains to be seen by the public, that has not prevented the US president and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from ramping up anti-Beijing rhetoric. 

    "China could have spared the world a descent into global economic malaise. They had a choice but instead - instead China covered up the outbreak in Wuhan," Pompeo told reporters Wednesday. 

    Additionally, Trump has floated the idea of imposing tariffs against China as a response to their so-called mishandling of the novel coronavirus. 

    Beijing has repeatedly rejected the US officials' theory on COVID-19's origin and Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the US should "handle its domestic affairs properly first," rather than attempt to shift blame and focus onto China. 

    Furthermore, the World Health Organization, multinational intelligence alliance Five Eyes and the US Intelligence Community have issued statements in support of the dominant assessment that the novel coronavirus was not a product of a lab or manmade.


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    tariffs, China, conspiracy theory, public health, coronavirus, COVID-19, Donald Trump
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