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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

China says US military may have brought virus to China

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: - Healthline

In an escalating war of words with Washington, China’s Foreign Ministry suggested yesterday that the US military might have brought the Covid-19 coronavirus to the Chinese city of Wuhan, long considered the source of the outbreak. China has taken great offence at comments by US officials accusing it of being slow to react to the virus, first detected in Wuhan late last year, and of a lack of transparency.

US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said on Wednesday that China’s slow reaction to the virus had probably cost the world two months when it could have been preparing for the outbreak. But in a strongly worded tweet in English, published yesterday on his verified Twitter account, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said it’s the United States that lacks transparency.

“When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!”

Zhao, a prolific and often combative Twitter user, offered no evidence for his suggestion that the US military might be to blame for the outbreak in China.

China says US military may have brought virus to China | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: New York Post

Earlier yesterday, Zhao’s fellow Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang criticized the US for “immoral and irresponsible” comments that blamed Beijing’s response for worsening the global impact. Asked about O’Brien’s comments, Geng told a Beijing news briefing that such remarks by U.S. officials would not help US efforts, and asserted that China’s efforts to slow the spread had bought the world time to prepare for the epidemic.

“We wish that a few officials in the US would at this time concentrate their energy on responding to the virus and promoting cooperation, and not on shifting the blame to China.”

The coronavirus was first detected in December in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province, where around two thirds of global cases so far have been recorded. But the vast majority of new cases have been outside China in recent weeks. Chinese authorities credit the firm measures they took in January and February, including a near total shutdown of Hubei, for preventing outbreaks in other Chinese cities and slowing the spread abroad.

Washington has pointed to a decision to limit air travel from China at the end of January to fend off accusations that it responded too slowly to the virus. Critics say President Donald Trump downplayed the disease in public and the federal government was slow to roll out tests.

Currently 126,136 people have been infected by the coronavirus across the world and 4,630 have died, the vast majority in China, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. The United States has 1312 cases and at least 30 people have died.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | gisanddata

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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