Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo Reuters

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday once again said that the coronavirus pandemic likely originated in a Chinese laboratory, but acknowledged there was no certainty of that.

Speaking to reporters, Pompeo also renewed his call for global pressure on China to provide more data on the origins of the illness.

"We don't have certainty, and there is significant evidence that this came from the laboratory. Those statements can both be true," he said, according to AFP.

"The American people remain at risk because we do not know ... whether it began in the lab or whether it began someplace else," added Pompeo.

"There's an easy way to find out the answer to that - transparency, openness - the kinds of things that nations do when they really want to be part of solving a global pandemic," he stated.

In an interview on Sunday, Pompeo said there was “enormous evidence” backing claims that the COVID-19 virus spread from a Chinese laboratory.

Those comments came after US President Donald Trump said last week he had seen evidence linking the novel coronavirus to a lab in Wuhan, China, though he would not provide further details.

“Yes, I have,” Trump told reporters at the White House when asked directly whether he had seen evidence that gives him confidence the virus was tied to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“And I think that the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves because they’re like the public relations agency for China,” he added.

However, the top US general said on Tuesday it was still unknown whether the coronavirus emerged from a wet market in China, a laboratory or some other location.

“Did it come out of the virology lab in Wuhan? Did it occur in a wet market there in Wuhan? Did it occur somewhere else? And the answer to that is: We don’t know,” Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a news conference, adding that the US government was looking into the issue.

Pompeo on Wednesday suggested that the United States did not take part in Monday's European Union-led telethon that raised some $8 billion to develop a vaccine because of China's presence.

"China was there. So the party that perpetrated this - it began in Wuhan, China - was there. And we regret it. There wasn't a call for transparency," he said.

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