The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that all available evidence suggests that the coronavirus originated in bats in China late last year and it was not manipulated or constructed in a laboratory.
US president Donald Trump said last week his government was trying to determine whether the virus emanated from a lab in Wuhan in central China.
WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told a Geneva news briefing:
All available evidence suggests the virus has an animal origin and is not manipulated or constructed virus in a lab or somewhere else. It is probable, likely, that the virus is of animal origin.
She added that it was not clear how the virus had jumped the species barrier to humans but there had “certainly” been an intermediate animal host.