A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry suggested on Thursday that the U.S. military might have brought the coronavirus to the city of Wuhan, which has been hardest hit by the outbreak, doubling down on a war of words with Washington.

China has taken great offense at comments by U.S. officials accusing it of being slow to react to the virus, which was first detected in Wuhan late last year, and of not being transparent enough.

On Wednesday, U.S. national security adviser Robert O'Brien said the speed of China's reaction to the emergence of the coronavirus had probably cost the world two months when it could have been preparing for the outbreak.