Biden orders release of intelligence on COVID origins

STORY: U.S. President Joe Biden signed a bill on Monday requiring the declassification of information related to the origins of the coronavirus.

Whether the pandemic was the result of a lab leak from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology,

or jumped from animals to humans at a Wuhan market remains a hotly contested debate

with divisions even among U.S. intelligence agencies.

China has said there is no credibility behind the lab leak theory.

In 2021, Biden directed intelligence agencies to investigate COVID-19's origins.

In a statement Monday, Biden said: "In implementing this legislation, my administration will declassify and share as much of that information as possible..."

He added that it was essential to find out the origins of the pandemic to prevent another one.

The bill sailed through the Senate and House of Representatives without opposition before being sent to the White House.

Beijing has been quick to criticise the new legislation,

with the foreign ministry saying on Tuesday that the China-related content of the bill misrepresented fact.

It called on the U.S. to "immediately stop political manipulation."