Position Statement on Bio-weapon Lawsuit and COVID-19
Submitted by Baldeep Singh Gill, Research Intern and Kshitij Naik, Honorary Research Member on Bio-weapon Lawsuit and COVID-19.
According to the South China Morning Post, the first COVID-19 case can be traced back to 17th November 2019. Since then, the world has been struggling to obstruct global pandemic. COVID-19 has infected more than half a million people in 199 countries with more than 26,000 deaths. The roots of COVID-19 remain unsettled, leading to various conspiracy theories and a war of words between the United States and China.
On 17th March 2020, an American lawyer Larry Klayman, his advocacy group Freedom Watch Inc. along with Buzz Photos filed a class-action lawsuit against the Chinese Government, Chinese Army and the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the Northern District Court of Texas and claimed $20 Trillion. In the lawsuit, it is alleged that COVID-19 has been recklessly created and released as a bio-weapon for international bioterrorism. It is pertinent to mention that the Chinese Government enjoys sovereign immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 and the only exception to the preceding law is terrorism. Claims made in the complaint are vague and are only substantiated by various media reports.
The creator of the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, Dr Francis Boyle claims that COVID-19 is a genetically modified bio-weapon. However, no scientific evidence has been demonstrated which explains COVID-19 being a purposely manipulated bio-weapon engineered in China. Kristian Anderson, an immunologist is of the view that given the natural origin of COVID-19, it is currently impossible to prove or disprove of the virus being purposely manipulated. Even if COVID-19 has a natural origin, it is right to say that China used it as a bio-weapon by concealing information about the outbreak of the virus.
Chinese authorities suppressed Dr Li Wenliang and other doctors who raised an alarm about the new respiratory illness that resembled SARS (another type of coronavirus that battered China in the early 2000s). Doctors in Wuhan and throughout China were also ordered not to disclose any information about the new disease to the public.
The Chinese officials informed the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 31st December 2019 about cases of pneumonia of unknown aetiology detected in Wuhan City and within a week successfully sequenced the virus and reported the genetic information to the WHO. However, China and WHO failed to warn other countries about the spread of the virus which led to millions of people travelling in and out of China, resultantly, spreading the virus in various other countries.
On 14th January 2020, WHO assured via a tweet that there is no human to human transmission of coronavirus according to the preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities. This has led to questions on the negligent behaviour and exercise of lack of reasonable care and skill by the Chinese authorities to conduct investigations. WHO has been aptly criticised for its inaction and not using its independent power to question China about its cover-ups.
China recently obstructed discussion on COVID-19 in the United Nations Security Council meeting in March 2020 and blocked the draft proposal prepared by Estonia seeking transparency on the COVID-19 outbreak.
To conclude, it may be discernible from the facts that China did not take a due care to prevent its proliferation outside its boundaries and delayed its advisories to WHO. Therefore, even if COVID-19 was not purposely engineered, the Chinese totalitarian government used it as a natural bio-weapon against other countries.
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