Westerners ‘fell ill in Wuhan’ months before Covid outbreak officially began

Western troops allegedly fell ill with a mystery illness after attending the World Military Games in Wuhan shortly before the Covid-19 outbreak officially began.

A long-serving Canadian officer was among scores of athletes who fell sick while attending the games in the pandemic ground zero city in China.

It has fuelled theories the virus leaked from a nearby lab.

The whistleblowing Canadian, who could not be named because they are still in the forces, told the Mail on Sunday foreign competitors found the usually bustling city of 11 million people "like a ghost town" when they visited in October.

But the Chinese government claimed the first confirmed case was not until the end of December.

It was reportedly claimed the Canadian team were so badly affected with the mystery illness a quarantine section was set up on their military flight back home.

The officer said a military-appointed doctor later said he almost certainly caught Covid and is now demanding an investigation.

They said: "I'm 100% convinced the virus was present in Wuhan when we were there.

"The burden of proof is on the scientific community and intelligence experts to prove – not for athletes."

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They added: "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 at Ground Zero of this pandemic that has had such an 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 officer’s claims have added to widespread concerns the Chinese government covered up the outbreak — meaning the world had little time to react and stop it from spreading across the globe.

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At least 5.5 million people globally have died during the pandemic, with 150,000 in the UK alone.

China has refused to cooperate with a full-scale investigation into the source of the deadly virus.

Scientists have suggested Covid could have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China through an infected researcher, improper disposal of waste, or potential breaches in the security at the site.

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The high-security facility specialising in coronaviruses has been in the eye of the storm as questions rage over whether Covid could have escaped from its lab.

Both China and the lab have furiously denied any allegations — but top former intelligence bosses said the evidence of a lab "accident" was clear to see and there has been a calculated cover-up "from day one".

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