The head of Sri Lanka’s Roman Catholic Church Sunday alleged that the highly contagious Coronavirus may be man-made and wanted those responsible prosecuted for “genocide.”
Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith addressing the faithful during a closed-door Sunday mass said the United Nations should initiate an international investigation into the origin of COVID-19 which he said was causing death and destruction.
He said a “rich and powerful nation” was behind the virus, but stopped short of naming names. However, his remarks, both in Sinhala and English, were on the lines of the Chinese foreign ministry claim on Friday that the US military was behind it.
Ranjith said the virus was not the creation of poor people. “It is the work of a rich and powerful nation,” he said adding that the fall out of the spread of the virus amounted to genocide.
He accused rich nations of trying to interfere with nature and causing long term harm to mankind.
“Some of these viruses that we are talking about are the product of unscrupulous aimless experimentation,” he said. “We have to say that we must stop this kind of experimentation that results in the loss of life and cause pain and suffering to humanity.”
“This is also a type of genocide that people practice on one another, whoever is responsible, these people have to be found out and they should be punished according to international law.”
The Cardinal did not offer any evidence for his suggestion that the virus may have been produced in a laboratory, but insisted that there should be a UN-backed international investigation.
The church had suspended all masses for a period of two weeks to bolster the government’s efforts to try and contain the spread of the virus as Sri Lanka reported a doubling of infected cases to 11 on Saturday.
Official figures show that there were 133 suspected COVID-19 cases at state hospitals while 1,700 were under quarantine at state-run facilities. Another 4,400 people were under self-quarantine at their respective homes.
During the televised sermon, Ranjith blamed man’s greed for material improvements for the spread of the disease.
“When man tries to change the laws that God has imbibed in nature and in human nature, then what happens is a grotesque kind of result. And we know that in several areas of this world, researchers of all types, for various reasons is engaging in research that will destroy possibly human life.”
On March 12, a Chinese official suggested that the US army may have brought the deadly coronavirus into China, without providing any evidence to support his eyebrow-raising claim.
Zhao Lijian, a foreign ministry spokesman, made the assertion on Twitter late Thursday, echoing similar conspiracy theories proliferating on Chinese social media that blame the US for the pandemic.
The head of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention has said himself that the source of the virus was wild animals sold at a market in the central city of Wuhan.