In a surprise announcement, a Chinese official has admitted that they have destroyed the earliest samples of Covid-19 but argued that it was for safety purposes.
This confirms United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who claimed so last month.
A supervisor to China’s National Health Commission, Liu Dengfeng, confirmed that the Chinese government ordered unauthorized labs around China to destroy samples of Covid-19. The earliest confirmed case of Covid-19 is known to have been in November of last year.
Liu emphasized that these labs were ‘unauthorized’, and thus it was perfectly within the Chinese jurisdiction to order the labs to destroy the samples to prevent the spread of the virus from these facilities. The number of labs or samples that were destroyed were not stated.
Last month, Pompeo argued that the Chinese Communist Party were not being straightforward nor transparent with how they were handling the virus.
During a press conference late April, Pompeo pointed out how China has not released its samples of the virus. The comparison of the samples are vital for virologists to further understand the virus, and see if the virus has mutated since it first began in Wuhan, China.
After charging the Chinese government of concealing information to the World Health Organization and other countries as the virus started to spread, Pompeo added that the Chinese had destroyed the samples. Until today, this information had not been corroborated.
It is no surprise that the US is taking a hard stance against China as the US has been affected the hardest by the novel coronavirus. Almost one-fourth of all positive cases and deaths have occurred in the US; more Americans have died because of the virus than in the entirety of the Vietnam War.
A May report from the Department of Homeland Security also argued that the Chinese intentionally downplayed the the seriousness of the virus. This seems to be in line with the Five Eyes alliance that stated whistleblowers in China were disappearing along with virus samples.
The Chinese admission comes as its diplomatic feuds with other countries continue to increase. From the US warning a complete boycott of Huawei to a war-of-words with Australia, Covid-19 has soured Chinese relations with other countries.
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