Singapore — Former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Calvin Cheng has emphasised the need for to come clean regarding the outbreak to prevent baseless rumours.

In a Facebook post on Thursday (June 3), he notes that America has started a new investigation to find out whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus came from a laboratory in China.

“The problem is that pop media and politics are muddying what serious scientists are trying to say,” he writes.

He notes there are three theories about the virus.

The virus is zoonotic — that is, caused by animals — according to the first two theories. But while one says the virus spread from animals to humans, the other says it leaked out of a laboratory by accident.

A third theory claims that the virus was not zoonotic, but man-made and leaked out accidentally.

Mr Cheng notes that many scientists reject the third theory because the virus bears little similarity to man-made viruses and could not be created with the available technology.

However, the virus could have leaked out from a lab.

Mr Cheng recalls an incident back in 1979 when spores of a bacteria obtained from rats accidentally leaked out from a Soviet laboratory, causing the death of at least 66 people.

He adds, it has not yet been proved that the virus spread from animals to humans and not accidentally leaked out from a lab.

“This is because China hasn’t been transparent or forthcoming with information,”  he says.

As Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan says, it is important to keep an open mind to examine the origins of the virus. However, this examination should not be politicised, says Mr Cheng. The only way to introduce more clarity is for China to be more forthcoming, he adds.

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A netizen agreed with Mr Cheng’s statement on the need for transparency while another asserted that it was up to China to prove its innocence in this matter.

Photo: Facebook Screengrab

Another netizen surmised that it was possible that the cause of the outbreak was a leakage but that the virus was not man-made.

Photo: Facebook Screengrab

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