Chinese spokesman accuses the US military of bringing coronavirus to Wuhan

 Chinese spokesman accuses the US military of bringing

coronavirus to Wuhan as war of words escalates after

Trump's national security adviser accused Beijing of cover up

 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8105527/China-government-spokesman-says-U-S-military-bought-virus-China.html

 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a tweet that the U.S lacked transparency around its handling of coronavirus 

 

China has been accused by the U.S of being slow to react to the virus

 

The delay 'cost the world months' when it could have been preparing for the outbreak 

 

Zhao suggested in a tweet that  U.S military might be to blame for the outbreak

 

He offered no evidence to back up his accusation  Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

 

PUBLISHED: 15:59 GMT, 12 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:56

GMT, 13 March 2020

A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry suggested on Thursday the U.S. military might have brought the coronavirus to the Chinese city of Wuhan, which has been hardest hit by the outbreak, doubling down on a war of words with Washington.

China has taken great offence at comments by U.S. officials accusing it of being slow to react to the virus, first detected in Wuhan late last year, and of not being transparent enough.

On Wednesday, U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said 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 the outbreak.

In a strongly worded tweet, written in English on his verified Twitter account, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said it was the United States that lacked transparency.

 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the U.S. lacked transparency and accused American military members of bringing the coronavirus to Wuhan. It came after U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said 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 the outbreak

 

A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry suggested on Thursday the U.S. military might have brought the coronavirus to the Chinese city of Wuhan, which has been hardest hit by the outbrea. Pictured: Workers wearing protective gear carry rubbish bins while disinfecting the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market in Wuhan. 

'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 wrote.

Zhao, an avid and often combative Twitter user, did not offer any evidence for his suggestion that the U.S. military might be to blame for the outbreak in China.

Earlier on Thursday, Zhao's fellow Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang criticised U.S. officials for 'immoral and irresponsible' comments that blamed Beijing's response to the coronavirus for worsening the global impact of the pandemic.

Asked about O'Brien's comments, Geng told a daily news briefing in Beijing on that such remarks by U.S. officials would not help U.S. epidemic efforts.

China's efforts to slow the spread had bought the world time to prepare against the epidemic, he added.

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The U.S. Armed Forces Sports team marches during opening ceremonies for the 2019 CISM Military World Games in Wuhan in October

This chart shows how confirmed coronavirus cases have escalated in the U.S. since January

'We wish that a few officials in the U.S. would at this time concentrate their energy on responding to the virus and promoting cooperation, and not on shifting the blame to China.'

The coronavirus emerged in December in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province, where around two-thirds of global cases so far have been recorded. But in recent weeks the vast majority of new cases have been outside China.

The Chinese authorities credit firm measures they took in January and February, including to a near total shutdown of Hubei, for preventing outbreaks in other Chinese cities on the scale of Wuhan and slowing the spread abroad.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has 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. Critics say Trump played down the disease in public and the federal government was slow to roll out tests.

'Unfortunately, rather than using best practices, this outbreak in Wuhan was covered up,' Trump's national security advisor O'Brien said during a think-tank appearance on Wednesday.

'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', he said.

More than 119,100 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus across the world and 4,298 have died, the vast majority in China, according to a Reuters tally. The United States has 975 cases and 30 people have died.

'We have done a good job responding to it but ... the way that this started out in China, and the way it was handled from the outset, was not right,' said O'Brien. (Reporting by Gabriel Crossley; Editing by Peter Graff and Alex Richardson)

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Coronavirus: Chinese spokesman blames US military for infection