Biden is 'interested in getting all the facts' about China and origins of COVID-19

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the political situation in Myanmar at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 10, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he wants to know all the facts when asked about “punishing” China for possibly not fully disclosing information on the coronavirus, which first appeared in China in late 2019 and kills thousands daily in a global pandemic.

“I’m interested in getting all the facts,” Biden said when asked by a reporter if he has “any interest in punishing China for not being truthful about COVID last year.”

Biden spoke after he gave remarks about a Pentagon review of the U.S. strategy toward China.

Earlier on Wednesday, a World Health Organization team researching the origins of the deadly disease revealed preliminary findings that the virus likely came from bats and not a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Washington said it wants to scrutinize data used by the team.

(This story refiles to delete extraneous word in first paragraph)

Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Steve Holland; Editing by Dan Grebler