China’s virus cover up to secure global medical supplies
There was "significant evidence" China has not only been lying about the origins of coronavirus but delayed reporting its severity as it moved to secure global supplies of medical kit for itself.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said coronavirus came out of a lab in China and not an animal 'wet market' as authorities have claimed and while he had no reason to believe it was deliberately spread or was man-made, there was evidence China had a history of substandard labs and actively sought to cover up their mistake.
"There is a significant amount of evidence this came from that laboratory in Wuhan," he said, identifying the lab as the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
His claim was supported strongly by comments by President Donald Trump and came as an intelligence report found China actively sought to downplay the severity of COVID-19 as it moved rapidly to stockpile the world's med kits to combat the virus.
According to a US Department of Homeland Security intelligence brief, China "intentionally concealed the severity" so it could secure medical supplies from around the world, which has included airfreight cargo from Australia in the early days of the pandemic.
The four-page intelligence report dated May 1 and marked "for official use only", said the cover up was "denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data".
This continued for most of January as it held off reporting the severity and spread to WHO and ramped up overseas orders of masks, gloves and gowns.
According to the report's assessment, China increased imports of masks by 278 per cent, surgical gowns by 72 per cent and surgical gloves by 32 per cent.
At the same time it slashed its global exports of the same three products by 48 per cent, 71 per and cent and 48 per cent respectively.
It also blocked export of other medical kit including ventilators, the latter by 45 per cent.
They "deliberately hid" the fact, by merging trade figures for January and February.
The report now leaked publicly has been used by the US administration to accuse China of actively playing down the impending crisis before it spread globally.
President Donald Trump said had the danger been made clear sooner more could have been done as he accused both China and Who of failures.
"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," Mr Trump wrote without citing specifics.
"Also, they only spoke of the virus in a very non-threatening, or matter of fact, manner."
Australia has called for a full investigation into how, when and where the virus spread from China, a call which has been met with aggressive rhetoric from China including its rogue ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye who has threatened boycotts if a push for a probe persists.
The WHO has said it would conduct its own probe but given its own role in delaying a declaration of a global pandemic and constantly praising China for its role in containing the contagion, nations have dismissed the notion as wholly inadequate.
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 U.S. Also, they only spoke of the Virus in a very non-threatening, or matter of fact, manner...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2020
Mr Trump meanwhile said a coronavirus vaccine could be available by year's end as he declared the US Government was putting "full power and might" into a drug created to combat ebola.
Mr Trump told a televised town hall style address, sponsored by Fox News, the antiviral remdesivir drug had shown early promise.
"We think we are going to have a vaccine by the end of this year," he said as he sat inside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC and fielded questions from two Fox hosts and questions posted by the public via social media.
Originally published as China's virus cover up to secure global medical supplies