A Department of Homeland Security intelligence report found the Chinese government likely hid information about the severity of the coronavirus in order to have time to hoard medical supplies.
The Chinese government “intentionally concealed the severity” of COVID-19 in early January, the four page report said, according to the Associated Press.
“We further assess the Chinese Government attempted to hide its actions by denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data,” the report added.
In January, according to the report, China increased its imports of surgical facemasks by 278 percent, surgical gowns by 72 percent, and surgical gloves by 32 percent. Meanwhile, it slashed its global exports of a host of medical products: surgical gloves by 48 percent, surgical gowns by 71 percent, face masks by 48 percent, medical ventilators by 45 percent, intubator kits by 56 percent, thermometers by 53 percent, and cotton balls and swabs by 58 percent.
The Chinese government obscured the magnitude of those efforts by merging its trade figures for January and February, the report says, while also delaying the release of trade data. (Politico)
China downplayed the threat of coronavirus and silenced whistleblowers who tried to warn the world.
The report comes as a majority of the U.S.’s intelligence agencies are in agreement that the novel coronavirus came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week” that at this time there is no reason to believe the virus was spread intentionally. He did note, however, that “China has a history of infecting the world, and they have a history of running substandard laboratories.”
“These are not the first times that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab,” Pompeo said. “And so, while the intelligence community continues to do its work, they should continue to do that, and verify so that we are certain, I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.”
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