WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is asking U.S. intelligence agencies to “redouble” efforts to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He says there is insufficient evidence to conclude “whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident.”
Biden directed U.S. national laboratories to assist with the investigation and called on China to cooperate with international probes into the origins of the pandemic. He held out the possibility that a firm conclusion may never be known, given the Chinese government’s refusal to fully cooperate with international investigations.
The U.S. leads the world with 33.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 591,000 confirmed deaths.
MORE ON THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— European Union seeks fines in AstraZeneca court case
— Ex-Johnson aide lambasts UK government over COVID failures
— Vaccine inequality in India sends many falling through gaps
— Countries eager to reopen to travel as pandemic recedes
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
ISTANBUL — Turkey will step up its COVID-19 vaccination program next month, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday.
“We aim to ensure normalization throughout our country by conducting an intensive vaccination campaign in June,” Erdogan said in a conference call with U.S. business leaders.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca says people over 50 can be vaccinated on June 1, adding that 5 million doses will arrive next week. It’s part of several deals for 270 million doses to vaccinate Turkey’s 84 million population.
Some 28.4 million first and second doses of vaccine have been administered so far, the health ministry says. It announced 8,738 new coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours and 166 COVID-19-related deaths.
Daily cases hit more than 63,000 in mid-April after restrictions were relaxed. A…