China's biological weapon
"The Chinese virus is the worst. It is a leaked biological weapon," said Cardinal Dominik Duka of Prague
Cardinal Dominik Duka of Prague (Photo: en.wikipedia.org/CC BY-SA 4.0)
Cardinal Dominik Duka of Prague has stirred up a controversy after he described COVID-19 as China's biological weapon, during a homily in Vitus Cathedral earlier this month. His February 6 sermon featuring this claim has since been widely circulated and can be viewed here.
"The Chinese virus is the worst. It is a leaked biological weapon," the 77-year-old Dominican cardinal said.
He also maintained that his claims could be supported by the military."All military experts around the world are convinced of this, but they are either afraid to or do not dare say it," Cardinal Duka said.
The Czech military was quick to deny this, issuing a statement that it did not agree with the cardinal's statement."
We have no such evidence, nor have we ever presented it anywhere," a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, told iROZHLAS.cz.Vaclav Horejsi, a renowned Czech immunologist, told CNN Prima News channel that the cardinal's allegations were "absolutely scandalous."
"The cardinal is spreading fake news. As a Catholic, I am ashamed and embarrassed that this man heads our church," he said.Cardinal Duka's comments came around the time when a WHO team of scientists were in China to investigate the origins of the coronavirus disease.
In China they visited Wuhan city and inspected the virology institute that American officials suggested could have been the source of the COVID-19 pandemic, having leaked from a lab there.
However, scientists think that was extremely unlikely and that COVID-19, which first emerged in Wuhan, originated in bats that could have been transmitted to people via another mammal.
Others like the Czech cardinal
Cardinal Duka is not the only Catholic Church leader to make outlandish statements on the COVID-19 pandemic. Sri Lankan Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith last year called for an international investigation into the cause of the coronavirus pandemic, alleging that experimenting with nature caused the disease."
We know that in several areas of the world researchers of all types for various reasons are engaging in research to destroy human life and nature. Some of these viruses are the products of aimless experiments," the 73-year-old Cardinal-archbishop of Colombo said during a televised Mass."
This kind of research is done not by people in poor countries but in laboratories in rich countries. Producing such things is a very serious crime for mankind. I ask the Lord to reveal who made these poisonous seeds. The United Nations or international organizations must find out who is behind these incidents and punish them. Such research should be banned," Cardinal Ranjith said.
Also last year, Cameroon Archbishop Samuel Kleda gave enormous hope to many in his central African nation, saying that he had discovered an effective herbal remedy against the coronavirus.Soon after that controversy, the 62-year-old Archbishop of Douala, a naturotherapist, used cautious language talking to La Croix Africa."
Taking into account the symptoms of people who say they have coronavirus, I apply herbal recipes and these people feel better. I didn't say I found a cure for coronavirus. It takes serious studies to come to that conclusion," Archbishop Kleda said.
But later, Archbishop Kleda claimed publicly that the herbal potion he concocted healed people in Cameroon and beyond of coronavirus.Many have believed that they had been healed by the archbishop's herbal remedy and even published their testimonies.
Pandemic still not over
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment.
The virus is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales or being infected by breathing in the virus if within close proximity of someone who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then the eyes, nose or mouth.Last year the WHO declared the coronavirus a pandemic.
While the pandemic is yet not over despite the introduction of new vaccines, the death toll is beginning to ease, albeit at a less dramatic pace.Daily COVID-19 related deaths have averaged less than 10,000 over the past five days, down from more than 18,000 in mid-January.
The overall number of people who died from COVID-19 is more than 2.3 million, according to WHO.New COVID-19 cases for the week ended Feb. 14 were the lowest since October, at 2.7 million, bringing that total number to just over 108 million, according to WHO's latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, regions, including Europe, are still in the grip of the virus whose variants are spreading, it said.