Canada focuses on mitigating COVID-19, placing virus origin search on backburner

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Canada is keeping a safe distance — for now — from the theory that the COVID-19 outbreak began by accident in a virology laboratory in China — a narrative that’s gaining traction by the day, thanks to the White House, American intelligence agencies and media outlets friendly to President Donald Trump.

It will be important to one day learn the true origin story of the global pandemic to defend against similar outbreaks in the future, Health Minister Patty Hajdu acknowledged Monday.

But for now, she said, the federal government is focused the health and safety of its citizens.

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“There will be time and a lot of interest and importance (in understanding) how this virus became prevalent in the human species,” Hajdu told a news conference.

“Although those questions are important, because they will help us prevent future outbreaks and understand what we can learn from this particular virus, what’s even more important right now is to stay focused on Canadians’ health and helping Canadians get through the outbreak that we’re in now.”

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The theory — that the virus came from a Level 4 microbiology facility at the Wuhan Institute of Virology,

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