Biden orders inquiry into origins of COVID-19

US President Joe Biden has ordered intelligence officials to reinvestigate the origins of the novel coronavirus. He also made clear the United States will urge China to disclose more information on the matter.

Biden issued a statement on Wednesday in which he said the US intelligence community has "coalesced around two likely scenarios," that the virus emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident. He said officials have not reached a definitive conclusion.

Biden said while two elements in the intelligence community lean toward the former scenario and one leans toward the latter, "the majority of elements do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other."

The president said he has asked the intelligence community to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information and to report back in 90 days.

He added the US will "keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence."

The World Health Organization publicized a report following its investigation into a virus research institute in Wuhan, China, that described a leak from the institute as highly unlikely.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked at a news conference on Wednesday why the Biden administration thinks that China would cooperate.

She responded that it was something reporters must ask the Chinese government, noting the issue of where the virus came from should matter to the Chinese as well.