Biden Says Undecided About COVID-19 Origins Bill
06:09 GMT 11.03.2023 (Updated: 07:16 GMT 11.03.2023)
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Joe Biden says he has not made a decision on whether to sign the bill that requires the US government to declassify all the information regarding the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I haven't made that decision yet," Biden told reporters on Friday.
Earlier in the day, the US House of Representatives passed legislation requiring the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to declassify materials related to the origin of the novel coronavirus.
The bill requires DNI to declassify information on potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China and the genesis of COVID-19 no later than 90 days after enactment of the legislation.
The Senate passed the bill earlier this month, and the House’s passage now sends the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk for final approval.
10 March 2023, 11:07 GMT
Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the agency believes that COVID-19 most likely originated from a lab in Wuhan, although other US intelligence agencies instead point to a Wuhan market as the starting point of the pandemic.
In February, Republican lawmakers re-requested information from the Biden administration on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a select subcommittee investigation. They also renewed a request for a classified briefing on the matter from the US intelligence community.
In March 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report of the first fact-finding mission of its experts to China's Wuhan, where the world's first COVID-19 outbreak occurred. Experts concluded that the leakage of the virus from a state-run laboratory in Wuhan was "extremely unlikely." They also said that there was a high possibility that the virus was transmitted to humans from bats through another animal.