That includes, he said, “how this virus was created and, specifically, whether it was a natural occurrence or was the result of a lab-related event”.

Beijing rejects US agency report saying Covid-19 likely emerged from Chinese lab leak


Beijing rejects US agency report saying Covid-19 likely emerged from Chinese lab leak

The order to declassify focused on intelligence related to China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, citing “potential links” between the research that was done there and the outbreak of Covid-19, which the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

US intelligence agencies are divided over whether a lab leak or a spillover from animals is the likely source of the deadly virus.

Experts say the true origin of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 1 million Americans, may not be known for many years – if ever.

“Transparency is a cornerstone of our democracy,” said congressman Jim Himes, of Connecticut, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, during the debate.

Led by Republicans, the focus on the virus origins comes as the House launched a select committee with a hearing earlier in the week delving into theories about how the pandemic started.

It offers a rare moment of bipartisanship in the often heated rhetoric about the origins of the coronavirus and the questions about the response to the virus by US health officials, including former top health adviser Anthony Fauci.

The legislation from Senator Josh Hawley was already approved by the Senate.

If signed into law, the measure would require within 90 days the declassification of “any and all information relating to potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origin of the coronavirus disease”.

That includes information about research and other activities at the lab and whether any researchers grew ill.