According to reports, China appointed its leading military biological weapons expert to take over a secret virus laboratory in Wuhan after the outbreak of a new coronavirus, which generated conspiracy theories that the health crisis could be related to the army.
Chen Wei, a senior general of the People's Liberation Army, was taken to Wuhan by the central government late last month before officially taking the helm of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, according to a report.
The designation of the 54-year-old man led some people to speculate that the epidemic could have been generated in the little-known laboratory and that the laboratory is led by the Beijing army.
Chen Wei (pictured), a division general of the People's Liberation Army, was transferred to Wuhan late last month after the coronavirus exploded, according to Chinese state media.
Chen (pictured with his team) is also a leading specialist in genetic engineering vaccines in China. He developed a medical spray during the SARS outbreak in 2003, preventing around 14,000 medical workers from contracting the virus, another state media report said.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology (pictured) has been the center of conspiracy theories after the coronavirus epidemic began. One theory states that the virus was a biological weapon designed by China and leaked from the laboratory by accident, which China denied
Chen and his team were already developing a faster way to detect the COVID-19 coronavirus from a tent in the epicenter on January 30, according to an official report from China.
Chen, also a leading specialist in genetically engineered vaccines in China, developed a medical spray during the SARS outbreak in 2003. The product prevented around 14,000 medical workers from contracting the virus, according to another state media report.
It is also known in the country as the & # 39; terminator of Ebola & # 39; for leading a team to create a vaccine against the fatal virus.
Speaking of fighting the new coronavirus, Chen said: & # 39; The epidemic is like a military situation. The epicenter is equivalent to the battlefield.
Chen and his team were already developing a faster way to detect the COVID-19 coronavirus from a tent in the epicenter on January 30, according to an official report from China. She is photographed being interviewed by a CCTV journalist outside the mobile laboratory in Wuhan
China's central government has sent at least 2,600 military doctors to Wuhan in an attempt to curb the epidemic. Members of a military medical team appear in the photo by going to Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, where most patients with coronavirus are cared for on January 26.
Several of Wuhan's main hospitals, as well as two new coronavirus hospitals, are now being administered by the People's Liberation Army. A military medical worker is represented who takes over the work of a medical worker at Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital on January 26
Although China's official media had little information on where Chen worked in Wuhan, Radio France Internationale said last Saturday that he had already taken the leadership of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The laboratory opened in November 2018 and is classified as P4, the highest level in biosafety.
The report cited a publication in the Chinese Douban forum as its source and said the measure revealed the possible relationship between the laboratory and the army.
"This type of connection shows that the previous (speculation) that suggests that Chinese troops were developing biological weapons in Wuhan P4 did not come out of nowhere," he said.
The article referred to an earlier theory, which states that the COVID-19 virus was a biological weapon designed by China and leaked from the laboratory by accident.
The new coronavirus has killed at least 1,383 people and infected more than 64,460 worldwide.
The claims come from a report from The Washington Times, citing a former Israeli military intelligence officer named Dany Shoham. He suggested that the coronavirus originated in the laboratory participating in a biological warfare program.
The Chinese authorities have denied the accusations.
Shi Zhengli, director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, said earlier this month: & # 39; The new 2019 coronavirus is the punishment of nature for the uncivilized life habits of humans. I, Shi Zhengli, use my life to ensure that (the virus) is unrelated to the laboratory & # 39 ;.
Shi urged the Chinese authorities to initiate an official investigation into the matter.
She told the Chinese news media Caixin: & # 39; Conspiracy theorists don't believe in science. I hope that the professional departments of our country can come to investigate and prove our innocence.
Xu Bin (second from right) of Beijing Chaoyang An & # 39; yuan Hospital affiliated with Capital Medical University, talks to journalists while a young family is discharged from the hospital in the capital of China after all the members recovered of the coronavirus COVID-19 on Friday.
Street cleaners wait in line to receive free face masks in Hong Kong, China on Friday
A couple with protective masks walks down the street on Valentine's Day in Guangzhou, China
A separate conspiracy theory alleges that the COVID-19 virus was created by the United States, which launched it on purpose.
The theory proposes that Washington used the virus as part of a multiple war against China, a South China Morning Post columnist said, citing Hong Kong-based YouTube influencer Jonathan Ho Chi-kwong.
The author criticized the conspiracy theory, saying it had been refuted by experts.
& # 39; Experts have pointed out that, as a biological weapon, the new virus is quite useless. It seems to kill only 2 percent of the victims and each patient spreads it to an average of only 2.2 people & # 39; & # 39 ;, said the opinion article.
Medical workers verify the conditions of patients at Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan on Thursday. The hospital has been designated to treat patients critical of the COVID-19 virus
Medical staff work in the negative pressure isolation room at Jinyintan Hospital on Thursday
China has reported another sharp increase in the number of people infected with the killer coronavirus, with a death toll close to 1,400.
The National Health Commission said 121 more deaths were recorded yesterday, as well as 5,090 new confirmed cases.
The number of reported cases has increased more rapidly after the most affected province changed its method of counting them.
There are now almost 64,000 confirmed cases in mainland China, of which 1,380 have died, according to the national agency.
Hubei Province now includes cases based on a doctor's diagnosis and before they have been confirmed by laboratory tests.
The acceleration in the number of cases does not necessarily represent a sudden increase in new infections of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Worldwide, the COVID-19 virus has so far killed at least 1,383 people and infected more than 64,460.