China hid severity of Covid-19 from WHO, hoarded medical supplies from abroad: US intelligence report

According to a four-page DHS report, China delayed informing the WHO for most of January so that it could stock medical supplies


                            China hid severity of Covid-19 from WHO, hoarded medical supplies from abroad: US intelligence report
Donald Trump (Getty Images)

China has come under more pressure over the origin of the coronavirus in Wuhan that has now become a global pandemic. The West has increasingly claimed that the virus originated in a biohazard lab in the city as against the commonly believed version that it started from a wet market.

Recently, a 15-page document drawn up by the Five Eyes security alliance revealed that China lied about the human-to-human transmission of coronavirus and refused to help other nations develop a cure.

And now, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has said in a report that Chinese leaders intentionally covered up the severity of the outbreak in early January. 

The latest revelation came in the wakes of the Trump administration mounting pressure on China saying the latter should be held responsible for allowing the entire world to come under danger.

The US recently also urged China to allow international inspectors to get access to its Wuhan laboratory to assess the situation but was denied.

The Trump administration has blamed China after facing heavy criticism at home that it came up with a delayed and inadequate response to handle the crisis that has claimed more than 67,000 lives in the US. 

According to Associated Press that obtained the report dated May 1, the analysis — not classified but marked "for official use only" — also claimed that China also increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies even while hiding the degree of threat the virus posed.

It attempted to cover up doing so by "denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data," the analysis stated, according to AP.

It also said that China held off informing the World Health Organization (WHO) that the coronavirus "was a contagion" for most of January so that it could stock up on medical supplies from abroad. 

The report's conclusions were based on a high probability (95 percent) that China's changes in import and export behavior were not in the normal range.

China informed the WHO of the outbreak on December 31. Three days later, it contacted the Centers for Disease Control and on January 8, publicly identified the pathogen as a novel coronavirus.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump (Getty Images)

In a tweet on Sunday, May 3, Trump appeared to blame America's intelligence officials for not clearing fast how dangerous the potential outbreak could be.

"Intelligence has just reported to me that I was correct and that they did NOT bring up the CoronaVirus subject matter until late into January, just prior to my banning China from the US," he wrote, adding: "Also, they only spoke of the Virus in a very non-threatening, or matter of fact, manner."

Intelligence, Trump differ on origin

The political and intelligence establishments in the US have not yet found themselves aligned over the origin theory of the coronavirus. While the intelligence community said last Thursday, April 30, that the coronavirus started in China but it was not man-made.

"The Covid-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified," the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which coordinates between 17 US spy agencies, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Trump claimed at a press conference on the same day that he has witnessed evidence that the COVID-19 originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has been in the headlines. He though refused to give the details. 

The leaked intelligence dossier of the Five Eyes also showed some disagreements prevailing between the member nations over the origin of the virus, Australia's Saturday Telegraph reported.

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