China has rubbished bombshell reports World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the Covid-19 virus emerged from a laboratory.
A senior government source reportedly told the Mail on Sunday Dr Tedros believes a "catastrophic accident" led to the virus escaping from the Wuhan Institute of Virology at the end of 2019.
Dr Tedros' comments regarding the virus's origins have slowly shifted to being more critical of China's response in the pandemic's infancy.
He was initially accused of protecting China and kowtowing to Beijing's demands, criticism led by former US president Donald Trump who decided to pull the US's WHO funding.
However Dr Tedros has since called for further investigation into the lab leak theory, riling Beijing in the process. China has long accused other nations of politicising the conspiracy in a smear campaign against China.
China refutes media report about WHO probe
Addressing the report on Wednesday, China's foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin rejected the Mail on Sunday's claims.
"The report you mentioned is entirely false and the Director-General completely refutes the story in the article," he responded, saying the WHO has confirmed Dr Tedros' alleged comments were never made in public or private.
"It is quite irresponsible and ill-motivated for certain media outlets to rehash the “lab leak” rumour by citing anonymous sources that do not exist.
"The so-called “lab leak” is a lie created by forces against China. It is politically motivated and has no scientific basis."
The World Health Organisation told Yahoo News Australia Dr Tedros "completely refutes" the Mail on Sunday story.
"Dr Tedros has not made any such statement publicly or privately and continues to believe that all hypotheses are on the table and should be followed up by scientists," it said.
Mr Wang went on to once again to point the finger at the US, calling for further investigation into "highly suspicious" activity at several American labs.
"That would be a concrete way to support origins-tracing," he said.
The exact beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in China remains unclear thanks in part to Beijing's tight control on information surrounding the virus's emergence.
A new report from WHO earlier this month suggested "key pieces of data" from China were missing amid investigations.
Several experts have fuelled speculation surrounding the lab leak theory by suggesting the theory is plausible.
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