A Canadian military officer who fears he was at the ‘Ground Zero’ of Covid two months before China officially acknowledged the virus has demanded an investigation into the suspicious outbreak of illness there.
The long-serving officer, who cannot be named as he is still in the forces, was among the scores of athletes who fell sick with a debilitating illness after attending the World Military Games in Wuhan in October 2019.
He said foreign competitors found the city of 11 million people ‘like a ghost town’, and so many cases of a mysterious virus afflicted the Canadian team that a quarantine section was set up on their military flight back home.
The officer, who is still suffering from the effects of his illness despite previous high levels of fitness, said a military-appointed doctor later said he almost certainly caught Covid.
His revelations fuel concerns the Chinese government covered up the outbreak – with devastating consequences. The Beijing regime says the first confirmed case was December 8, three weeks before the World Health Organisation was tipped off by sources in Taiwan.
Several European athletes attending the Games, which attracted more than 9,000 competitors from 100 countries, have said they developed Covid-like symptoms in Wuhan. Reports also suggested Iranian participants died soon after returning home.
The long-serving officer, who cannot be named as he is still in the forces, was among the scores of athletes who fell sick with a debilitating illness after attending the World Military Games in Wuhan in October 2019. Pictured: The Canadian delegation
‘I’m 100 per cent convinced the virus was present in Wuhan when we were there,’ said the Canadian officer. ‘The burden of proof is on the scientific community and intelligence experts to prove – not for athletes.
‘I accept I am not a scientist and it might not be Covid, but why does everyone seem so reluctant to investigate properly?
‘It feels like we were present at Ground Zero of this pandemic that has had such impact on everyone’s life, with millions of deaths and economies shut down, so why not carry out due diligence. Are the facts just too big to handle?’
The claims circulating around the team about the virus being present during the Games were rapidly denied by the top doctor in Canada’s armed forces. Yet one well-connected Canadian source told me their intelligence experts suspect the pandemic might go back to a lab incident in Wuhan, which is home to several research centres studying bat coronaviruses.
The claims circulating around the team about the virus being present during the Games were rapidly denied by the top doctor in Canada’s armed forces. Yet one well-connected Canadian source told me their intelligence experts suspect the pandemic might go back to a lab incident in Wuhan, which is home to several research centres studying bat coronaviruses. Pictured: File image of Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan
The whistleblowing military officer said the 168-strong Canadian delegation arrived in Wuhan on October 15 to find the city empty. ‘There were skyscrapers as far as you could see but all the schools were shut, the cranes were not moving, there were hardly any cars and almost no one around,’ he said.
‘When team members asked about the deserted streets, they were told it was for their benefit. But I’ve been to previous Military Games and never seen this – and we were only 9,000 athletes in this big city.’
He said that after eight days, Canadian athletes began feeling sick with flu-like symptoms such as fever, nausea and exhaustion. ‘I started to get symptoms just before the end of the Games. There were so many cases that a large portion of the plane back had to be quarantined for the sick.’
He felt so terrible that, driving home from the airport, he had to stop for three days to crash out at a hotel – and was wiped out for six weeks. Almost two years later, he says he is still suffering from what he thinks is long Covid.
As soon as news of the pandemic began to emerge in early 2020, many athletes started discussing among themselves if they had been early victims of the new virus. Pictured: The opening ceremony
As soon as news of the pandemic began to emerge in early 2020, many athletes started discussing among themselves if they had been early victims of the new virus.
Yet no serology (serum) tests for antibodies were carried out, despite fears being raised with military doctors.
On January 22, Major-General Andrew Downes, Surgeon-General of Canada’s armed forces, sent a memo telling competitors their risk of having caught Covid in Wuhan was ‘negligible’ since they had left the city ‘well before the virus had begun circulating’.
The Canadian armed forces said there was no awareness of the virus at the time of the Games and ‘there have not been any Covid-19 cases identified among this group’.
However, testing for the disease was unavailable in Canada until January 2020, so participants were not checked on their return.
The whistleblower said Major-General Downes’s memo was followed by an email from the public affairs department ordering them not to talk publicly about their concerns. He admits to discomfort in disobeying such orders, but believes he has a public duty to speak out now.
Chinese soldier athletes attend the opening of the Military World Games in Wuhan in 2019
Jamie Metzl, a World Health Organisation adviser, said that although it could not be confirmed if the Games were an early super-spreader event, it was critical such leads were followed up.
‘Until we know how this terrible crisis began, it would be unwise and self-defeating not to turn over every stone,’ he said. ‘It would shock most people to learn there has been no comprehensive international investigation into the origins of the pandemic. This is unacceptable and leaves the entire world and future generations at risk.’
Last January, the US State Department said intelligence reports indicated researchers at Wuhan Institute of Virology ‘became sick in autumn 2019’ with symptoms ‘consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illnesses’, although a review later ordered by President Joe Biden was inconclusive on the origins.
The Canadian officer’s story dovetails with claims by some athletes from France, Italy, Luxembourg and Sweden that they were infected with a virus at the event, as The Mail on Sunday first reported in May 2020. The UK did not enter the World Military Games.
German volleyball player Jacqueline Bock said she and some team-mates fell ill in Wuhan. She added. ‘I have never felt so ill. Either it was a very bad cold or Covid-19. I think it was Covid-19.’
Italian fencer Matteo Tagliariol said he suffered a high fever, a bad cough and breathing difficulties after everyone in his Wuhan flat fell ill with symptoms that he says were the same as Covid-19 .
Pictured: A sign marks the site of the 7th CISM Military World Games in Wuhan in 2019
‘A number’ of the 281 French participants fell ill, one anonymous athlete told a journalist soon after the Games. Pentathlete Elodie Clouvel, 31, later said she and her partner Valentin Belaud both became sick.
The official line is that such reports are highly speculative and not backed by hard evidence.
Tagliariol’s claims were challenged later by a team-mate while Swedish pentathlete Melina Westerberg said that while several of her squad were sick at the Games, they tested negative for the virus. ‘It was just a coincidence.’
After the Games, US athletes returned to more than 200 military bases across the country. There were confirmed infections at 63 of them before the end of March 2020.
Republican Congressmen trying to establish any link to the Games received no answers to letters they sent to senior government figures. But a law signed by Biden last week includes a mandate to disclose the numbers infected in Wuhan.
Ironically, the Chinese government has blamed US troops at the Games for taking Covid to Wuhan as part of a disinformation campaign to divert attention from its suppression of data.
Source: Daily Mail UK