China on Friday rejected calls for an independent international investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus, BBC reported. Chen Wen, a top Chinese diplomat in the United Kingdom, told the news network that the demands for such an inquiry were “politically motivated”.

“We are fighting the virus at the moment, we are concentrating all our efforts on fighting against the virus,” Chen said. “Why talk about an investigation into this? This will divert not only attention, it will divert resources. This is a politically motivated initiative, I think no one can agree on this...It would serve nobody any good.”

The virus is thought to have originated in a wildlife market in the city of Wuhan in China. The virus has infected over 82,000 people and killed over 4,600 in China. However, over the past month, China has managed to drastically reduce the number of daily infections, with Wuhan and the rest of the country limping back to normalcy.

However, a European Union report has accused China of spreading misinformation about the disease, and several heads of state, including United States President Donald Trump, have raised doubts about China’s claims about the origin of the virus and its reporting of cases.

On April 19, Trump said the United States wanted to send a team to China to examine the extent of the spread of Covid-19. America has launched an investigation into whether the coronavirus originated in a high-security lab in Wuhan. Several conspiracy theories are circling about the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s P4 laboratory, which is equipped to handle dangerous viruses.

On April 23, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would push for an investigation at the annual meeting of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization. The meeting is scheduled to be held in May, and Australia is a member of the executive board of the assembly.

However, Chen said on Friday that the rumours about the origins of the virus were like a “political virus” that was as dangerous as the coronavirus itself. The World Health Organization as well as several scientists have debunked claims that the coronavirus emerged in a Wuhan laboratory.

‘Will make sure world knows Covid-19 originated in China’: US

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a television show host on Friday that America is working with other countries to make sure the world knows that the virus originated in China, PTI reported. “We need to hold accountable the parties responsible for the deaths here in the United States and the enormous economic costs that have been posed on the US,” Pompeo told The Ben Shapiro Show in an interview.

Pompeo said that the entire global economic system has been destroyed due to the pandemic. He said the United States is helping other countries get their economies back on track, so that international travel and global commerce can recommence.

“We are also working with those countries to make sure they understand that this was in fact a virus that originated in Wuhan, China, that the Chinese government knew about this certainly by December of 2019,” he said. “And that they failed to comply with their most fundamental obligations as a nation, and importantly, too, failed to comply with the international health regulations of the World Health Organization...”

He claimed that the world’s largest businesses can now visualise the political risk associated with operating in China.

Pompeo also claimed that the World Health Organization failed to protect the world from the Covid-19 pandemic. “We’re not going to let that happen again, and we’re going to set up something, a system, which delivers an outcome...which reduces the risk that anything like this can ever happen again, from China or from anyplace else,” the secretary of state added.

Over 28 lakh people have been infected around the world so far, and more than 1.97 lakh have died, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

Follow today’s live updates on Covid-19 here