Coronavirus: Documentary claims COVID-19 emerged in China earlier than reported, spread at World Military Games

A new documentary alleges COVID-19 was found in Wuhan as early as September 2019.
A new documentary alleges COVID-19 was found in Wuhan as early as September 2019. Photo credit: Getty Images

A new documentary claims COVID-19 appeared in Wuhan a lot earlier than Chinese authorities admitted and could have knowingly been spread during an international competition in the city. 

What Really Happened in Wuhan is a Sky News documentary and book by The Australian investigative reporter Sharri Markson. 

In it she interviews a number of high profile people involved in the early days of the outbreak in 2020 - including former President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe. 

The documentary alleges COVID-19 leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in September - months before December when Chinese authorities first said it was found.  

Ratcliffe told Markson it was a "certainty" the virus escaped from the lab.  

"Listen the people that had the most access to the most intelligence, are telling you that the most likely origin of COVID-19, of the Wuhan virus, was a lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology," Ratcliffe said. 

Ratcliffe said there was "compelling" evidence the virus came from the lab and was covered up by Chinese authorities. 

In October 2019 the World Military Games - a kind of Olympics for the military - was held in Wuhan. 

The World Military Games is organised by the International Military Sports Council and involves athletes from military outfits from around the world competing. Around 9000 athletes attend from over 100 countries. 

Chinese defector Wei Jingsheng told Markson the Chinese authorities allowed the Military Games to go ahead so the event could act as a superspreader for the new virus. 

"I learned there was an unusual exercise by the Chinese government during the military games". 

"I thought that the Chinese government would take this opportunity to spread the virus during the military games as many foreigners would show up there," he told Markson. 

Wei claims he told high-profile people in US intelligence of his concerns but no one acted. 

Miles Yu, the former Principal China Advisor at the US State Department, backed up the suspicion coronavirus was already in the community during the games telling Markson people who returned from the games had coronavirus symptoms but were never tested. 

"All I know is that people got sick, I believe the French often got sick, I believe the Germans, some Americans got sick too," he said. 

"But getting sick in Wuhan in that particular timeframe of the kind of symptoms that are very similar to what would later be known to be coronavirus symptoms, that obviously deserves investigation," Yu said. 

Ratcliffe admits in the programme US Intelligence knew three people at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had fallen sick with symptoms that would later be diagnosed as the same as coronavirus in October 2019. 

"What (former Secretary of State) Mike Pompeo and I put out is people became sick at the lab in October and with symptoms that became entirely consistent with what most people have experienced around the world from COVID-19," Ratcliffe told Markson. 

In an interview with Fox News on the documentary Markson said this was disturbing. 

"Serious questions need to be asked about what the intelligence agencies are doing if they've been given this credible information, and the serious warnings from these highly-credible Chinese defectors and they're not acting on it," she said.