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US Concerns Over BGI Testing in Middle East

BGI has set up SARS-CoV-2 testing sites in the Middle East, a move that has concerned the US, Bloomberg reports.

According to Bloomberg, BGI has garnered millions of dollars in contracts with countries like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, which are all traditional US allies. But, it adds, that the US has warned that through these contracts, these countries may be providing sensitive personal information to BGI. One US official, Bloomberg says, has likened BGI to the Chinese telecom firm Huawei that the US has tried to block on security grounds.

China, Bloomberg says, dismisses the US concerns and says the Foreign Ministry prohibits using personal data that's collected as part of epidemic control efforts for other purposes.

US allies also appear to be shrugging off the concerns, especially, Bloomberg notes, as the US has not offered an alternative.

"China has seized the moment," Jonathan Fulton from Zayed University in Abu Dhabi tells it. "This is happening while the US just seems completely overburdened."