Intelligence documents have shown that US officials believe that China has hidden the extent of the Corona virus, to stockpile medical supplies needed to respond to it.
A four-page intelligence report, issued by the Ministry of Homeland Security on May 1, obtained by Associated Press, stated that Chinese leaders “intentionally concealed” the severity of the epidemic from the world in early January.
The revelation comes as President Donald Trump’s administration has intensified its criticism of China, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the country is responsible for the spread of the disease and should be held accountable.
Pompeo’s starker comments coincide with criticism of the US administration that the government’s response to the virus has been slow and insufficient. On their part, political opponents of President Donald Trump accused him of criticizing China, the geopolitical enemy but it is the important trading partner of the United States, in an attempt to divert attention from the criticism at home.
The Ministry of Homeland Security report, which was not classified as classified but marked as “for official use only”, indicates that while China has reduced the risk of the virus, it has increased imports and reduced exports of medical supplies.
It tried to cover up this by “denying the existence of export restrictions and hiding and delaying the presentation of its trade data,” according to the report.
The report also says that China stopped reporting to the WHO that the virus was “an infectious disease” most of January so that it could order medical supplies from abroad – and that its imports of face masks, surgical gowns and gloves increased sharply.
This conclusion is based on a 95% probability that the changes in China in import and export behavior were not within the normal range, according to the report.
China informed the World Health Organization of the Coruna outbreak on December 31.
It called the US Centers for Disease Control on January 3, and publicly identified the disease as the new Corona virus on January 8.