WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The U.S DHS has released a report saying that China has attempted to conceal the impact of coronavirus.
- The report indicated that there was an unusual increase in the importing of medical supplies in China since January.
- The Trump administration has consistently criticized China as the possible origin of COVID-19.
Officials from the U.S. believes that China hid how coronavirus is plaguing its country, as well as its severity, to amass medical supplies necessary for its government to respond to the pandemic, intelligence reports indicate.
According to a May 1 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) intelligence document acquired by the Associated Press, Chinese authorities had purposely covered up the effects of the outbreak to the rest of the world since January.
The four-page report comes as President Donald Trump has continuously criticized China, with State Secretary Mike Pompeo stressing on Sunday that the East Asian nation is the one accountable for worldwide escalation of the infection and must be held responsible.
The claim also ensued as harsh critics of the Trump administration repeatedly said its response toward the pandemic was not enough and slow. Political rivals of Trump also said that in an effort to divert attention to the administration, the president puts beating at China, while it remains an essential trade partner but a geopolitical adversary at the same time.
The statement said that China had downplayed the severity of the coronavirus and increased its capacity to buy imported goods while limiting the trade of its medical items.
China allegedly made an effort to hide the issue by denying there were export limits and creating confusion and delaying the details of its trade provisions, the analysis says.
Likewise, the document also says China withheld full information to the World Health Organization that the coronavirus “was a contagion” in January so they can implement its trading schemes to order medical supplies from abroad — and that its imports of face masks and surgical gowns and gloves increased sharply.
While the report was not labeled as classified, it was marked solely for official use.
The report also noted that its findings are statistically based on the 95% likelihood that China’s variations in its imports and export activities were not at a regular rate.
Trump also repeatedly claimed that China might have released COVID-19 by mistake. U.S intelligence authorities said they are still investigating the pronouncement by the president that the virus may have been originated from a Chinese lab accident.
During an interview with ABC’s show “This Week,” on Sunday, Pompeo said while coronavirus’ spread may not have been intentional, he noted that China had infected the world before.
Pompeo went on by saying that the intelligence agencies will continue to probe on the claim, and once verified, the U.S can tell that there’s enough evidence that the virus was a product of a Wuhan laboratory. The state secretary may have been referring to the SARS, a respiratory disease that came from China.