BEIJING-(MaraviPost)-A LEAKED dossier compiled by five international intelligence agencies, including the UK, has accused China of a cover-up in relation to the coronavirus pandemic.
But US President Donald Trump says ‘we’re coming up with a recommendation’ over China
The report was put together by the so-called Five Eyes intelligence agencies, consisting of spies from the UK, the US Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Their failure to act is being blamed for costing tens of thousands of lives, in what the document describes as an “assault on international transparency”.
It also accuses Beijing of blatant censorship in a bid to prevent news of the outbreak spreading, by deleting key search terms including Wuhan Seafood Market – where the illness was first identified – from search engines.
The 15-page report – obtained by Australian newspaper The Saturday Telegraph – examines the timeline during which news of the illness first filtered out.
The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a press release on January 5 about “mystery lung disease” which was affecting 11 people, having been alerted on December 31 by the Chinese authorities.
However, the press release stated: “Based on the preliminary information from the Chinese investigation team, no evidence of significant human-to-human transmission.”
Xi Jinping (Image: GETTY)
Liu Pei’en speaks to ITV (Image: ITV)
On January 14 – nine days after its initial press release – the WHO stuck to its line, tweeting: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China”.
However, the Five Eyes report states the People’s Republic of China (PRC) knew this information to be inaccurate.
The document states: “Despite evidence of human-human transmission from early December, PRC authorities deny it until January 20.
“The World Health Organization does the same. Yet officials in Taiwan raised concerns as early as December 31, as did experts in Hong Kong on January 4.”
Dr Li Wenliang died in February (Image: GETTY)
Furthermore, the report suggests Chinese authorities silenced or “disappeared” doctors who attempted to raise the alarm, with the case of Li Wenliang, who was investigated by police for “spreading rumours”, only to die of the virus in February, particularly well publicised.
The authorities are also accused in the report of destroying evidence in laboratories and refusing to provide samples to doctors trying to develop a vaccine.
Additionally, it accuses China of censoring news of the virus from New Year’s Eve onwards, scrubbing search terms such as “SARS variation,” “Wuhan Seafood market” and “Wuhan Unknown Pneumonia” from search engines.
The question of what China knew, and when they knew it, is at the heart of any discussion about COVID-19.
A report carried in the South China Morning Post last month cited leaked data indicated China had identified at least 266 cases of the disease by the last day of the year, suggesting the first had been identified on November 17.
A temporary hospital in Wuhan (Image: GETTY)
A P4 Lab in Wuhan (Image: GETTY)
A separate report published in medical journal The Lancet by doctors from Wuhan’s Jinyintan Hospital dated the first known infection to December 1.
While worldwide cases of COVID-19 continue to soar, China appears to have got the situation under control, officially at least.
The total number of cases according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Research Centre standing at 83,959 – up just one on yesterday, while the official death toll is 4,637 – although the accuracy of these figures is also hotly disputed.
Professor Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at the School of African Studies (SOAS), telling Express.co.uk earlier this week: “There is no doubt China has been under-reporting the actual number of cases.
“Ultimately, everything at every level in China is political and this is no different.”
Coronavirus cases worldwide (Image: Daily Express)
Wuhan resident Liu Pei’en, whose father died at the beginning of February, likewise said the figures specifically for his home city were vastly higher than the official tally during an interview with ITV.
He said: “The real number should be 10 times higher than the reported number.
“The death toll now is 2,500. The real number in Wuhan should be more than 20,000.
“It is impossible that only more than 2,000 died. Impossible.”
US President Donald Trump has vented his anger at both China and the WHO is recent days.
COVID-19 emerged towards the end of last year (Image: GETTY)
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During a press conference, he said: “I think the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves.
“The public relations agency for China.”
Mr Trump has also claimed to have seen evidence the coronavirus had originated in a path lab in Wuhan.
In doing so, he contradicted the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees US spy agencies, which said in a report issued last week it had concluded the virus was “was not manmade or genetically modified”.
However, the ODNI report added: “The intelligence community will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”