China has been left furious at comments from US officials who have accused the country of being slow to react to the spread of the killer virus, and not being transparent enough on progress being made. Earlier this week, US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien the speed of China’s reaction to the emergence of the coronavirus had probably cost the world two months when it could have been preparing for a global outbreak. But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has hit back and lashed out at the US, accusing Washington itself of lacking transiency.
It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!
In a strongly worded tweet, written in English on his verified Twitter account, Zhao wrote: “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 accompanied his tweets with a video of Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying that some Americans who had seemingly died from influenza later tested positive for the new coronavirus.
But the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, who is known to be particularly outspoken on the social media platform, did not offer any evidence for his claim the US military are to blame for the outbreak in China.
Zhao’s fellow Foreign Ministry spokesman had earlier had earlier attacked US officials for “immoral and irresponsible” comments that had blamed China’s slow reaction to the coronavirus outbreak for worsening the situation.
Asked about Mr O’Brien’s comments, Geng Shuang warned such comments would not help efforts from the US to contain the epidemic.
He also claimed the efforts made by China had bought the world time to prepare against the epidemic.
Geng told a daily news briefing in Beijing: “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.”
But the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman would not comment on the Twitter claims made by Zhao.
Geng was asked repeatedly about the claims the US military might have been behind the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.
But the spokesman would only say the international community had different ideas about the origin of the virus.
Geng would also not comment directly n questions whether Zhao’s comments were consistent with Beijing’s official views on the virus.
Donald Trump’s administration had pointed to a decision to limit air travel from China at the end of January to fend off criticism that it responded too slowly to the disease.
The US President’s National Security Adviser Mr O’Brien accused China of a cover up, claiming the country’s slow response to the outbreak.
He said on Wednesday: “Unfortunately, rather than using best practices, this outbreak in Wuhan was covered up.
“It probably cost the world community two months to respond,” during which “we could have dramatically curtailed what happened both in China and what’s now happening across the world”.
Nearly 5,000 people have died and more than 135,000 people infected from coronavirus across 127 countries.
Several countries have stepped up plans in a desperate attempt to limit the spread of the deadly disease, with the UK moving to the “delay phase” after a total of 10 deaths and 590 infections.
A number of high-profile figures are now testing positive for coronavirus, including Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with the couple now in self-isolation.
In China, where the epidemic originated, officials said the disease had peaked and suggested the global spread could be over by June if other nations followed its lead in applying aggressive containment measures.
Mainland China has confirmed a fall in new coronavirus cases, from 15 on Wednesday to just eight on Thursday, bringing the total accumulated number of confirmed cases in the country so far to 80,813. The death toll has surpassed 3,000.
Wuhan, where coronavirus is thought to have originated, reported just five new cases on Friday, the second day in a row the tally has been less than 10.
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