Controversial laboratory studying bats in Wuhan ‘shut down in October’, mobile data shows

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ANALYSIS of mobile phone data showed that a controversial laboratory studying bats in the Chinese city of Wuhan shut down in October, it was claimed on Saturday night.

US and UK intelligence agencies were said to be examining the report, which adds weight to the theory the coronavirus accidentally escaped from the lab after jumping from bats to humans.

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The Wuhan Institute of Virology in China’s central Hubei province
AFP – Getty

The data report, obtained by the NBC News in London, said there was no phone activity in a high-security portion of the Wuhan Institute of Virology from October 7 to October 24, 2019.

It indicates that there may have been a “hazardous event” sometime between October 6 and October 11.

It offers no direct evidence of a shutdown, or any proof for the theory that the virus emerged accidentally from the lab.

If there was such a shutdown, it could be seen as evidence alluded to by Trump administration officials that the novel coronavirus spread from bats to humans at the lab.

Many scientists are sceptical, arguing that the more likely explanation is that the virus was transmitted to humans through animals in a Wuhan live produce market.

The World Health Organization said Friday it believed the “wet” market played a role in the spread of the disease.

The first case of the virus in China has been traced back to November 17, but researchers are beginning to question it, given that a case was documented in France in December.

Rare footage shows scientists working at the controversial Wuhan virus lab

Circled a broken seal on a store at the lab containing 1,500 virus strains – including the novel coronavirus

The document says its analysis suggests the pandemic began “earlier than initially reported” and “supports the release of Covid-19 at the Wuhan Institute of Virology”.

US President Donald Trump has previously said he had seen evidence that gives him “a high degree of confidence” that the virus emerged accidentally from a lab.

American intelligence officials say they have not reached that conclusion and lack hard evidence to support it.


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