Disinfo: Coronavirus: A leak from a lab 300m away from markets in Wuhan

Summary

A certain “leak” might have occurred from Wuhan Chemical Laboratories. The lab is known to study viruses and it also brings bats from different regions and caves from the north.

This laboratory is located 300 meters from the Wuhan wet market… And one of the workers in the laboratory might have taken a sick bat from the institute and sold it on the market for a high price.

Disproof

Conspiracy theories about the 2019-nCoV coronavirus, there is no evidence that suggests that the virus is used as a weapon against other states or that is has been fabricated inside laboratories.

This Coronavirus comes from a family of viruses that include the common cold and viruses such as SARS and MERS. The February issue of the medical journal “Emerging Microbes & Infections” with the title “No credible evidence supporting claims of the laboratory engineering” confirms that the virus could not have been fabricated.

The first case of coronavirus was reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in central China and has been rapidly spreading around the world. According to WHO, as of 30 March 2020 there were 693282 cases and 33106 deaths reported.

The claim of a “leak” was made by papers published by Chinese scientists, these papers were not peer-reviewed, and do not offer any clear evidence that the outbreak began in a lab. It simply proposes it as a possibility. The scientists wrote about the possible pathways between infected bats and the seafood market where COVID-19 outbreak reportedly began and suggested that research facilities close to the seafood market may be the missing link. Using only online maps, the authors conclude that there are laboratories conducting research on bats about 280 metres and 12 kilometres from the market. According to Fullfact, scientists state in the paper that “solid proofs are needed in future study”.

Forbes magazine, on the other hand, used a more robust metaphor: “It’s a lot easier to leak a pocket of air through your butt than a virus from a BSL-4 facility. BSL-4 facilities maintain the highest level of security among bio-laboratories,..., labs have to have the appropriate ventilation systems, reinforced walls, security systems, and construction to keep the wrong things inside and the right things outside.”

You can see other examples in our database, such as claims that Bill Gates and George Soros are sponsoring coronavirus, that it is a UK, US or NATO creation and that the Americans have its cure, that it is an artificial disease which specifically targets Chinese DNA, that it was created with economic goals while big pharma companies are spreading panic for their own profit, that it is a biological weapon against Russia and China, that it will wipe out Ukraine’s population in a few days or that it was predicted by Nostradamus or some American movies.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 190
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 30/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: China
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Virus / bacteria threat, Biological weapons, Conspiracy theory

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Disproof

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Disproof

Conspiracy theory and baseless accusations with no evidence given. This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative targeting environmental activist Greta Thunberg, which exploits the topic of the coronavirus crisis to make its point. The pro-Kremlin media often use crisis situations to spread disinformation about a variety of topics and to push certain pro-Kremlin narratives, with the COVID-19 pandemic being no exception to this rule.

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Disproof

Baseless speculation; no evidence given. Consistent with earlier pro-Kremlin disinformation message that the Schengen zone has collapsed and more broadly, with the disinformation narrative that the EU is collapsing as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

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