A Chinese doctor from Hong Kong who visited Wuhan, the initial epicenter of the global pandemic, in the month of January this year, has recently published a study which showed that the officials did hide the scale of the initial outbreak.
Prof. Yuen Kwok-yung revealed that Wuhan authorities had destroyed physical evidence and provided a 'slow' response to clinical findings. As per a report, earlier he said, "I do suspect that they have been doing some cover-up locally at Wuhan. The local officials who are supposed to immediately relay the information have not allowed this to be done as readily as it should."
Criticism About Coronavirus Transparency
Since the outbreak first reported in China last year, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been facing widespread criticism about the authenticity and transparency of its Coronavirus figures. Many believe that the death toll is much higher in China than the official number.
The 63-year-old microbiologist had earlier raised questions about the Chinese government's handing over the COVID-19. The Hong Kong expert said in June that the real Coronavirus infection number in Hubei Province, where the disease first emerged, could be around two million. A team led by Prof Yuen from the University of Hong Kong revealed the figure after they analyzed samples from Hong Kong people returning from Hubei.
But as expected the study was condemned by the Chinese media outlets. They even threw questions like whether the Hong Kong expert has been helping the U.S. campaign against China over the Coronavirus pandemic which affected over 16 million people as of Monday, July 27.
Prof Yuen's Involvement in Coronavirus Investigation
The expert from Hong Kong, where China recently imposed the controversial National Security Law, was involved in the early diagnosis and investigation of the SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan city. He visited the Chinese city during an exploratory mission on January 17 as a representative of China's National Health Commission.
As per a report by Caixin, Dr. Zhong Nanshan, the leader of Beijing's coronavirus expert team, as well as George Gao, who is the head of the Chinese CDC, also joined Prof Yuen during his visit to Wuhan. This group of experts was the first to confirm that the human-to-human transmission of the virus is possible and soon after the confirmation, the Chinese authorities imposed a city-wide lockdown.
However, after their return from Wuhan, Prof Yuen and his team in Hong Kong collected several blood samples from 452 Hong Kong residents and later found that 3.8 percent (17 samples) of them carried antibodies against COVID-19. When they applied the antibody rate to the entire population of Hubei, which is more than 58 million, they concluded that around 2.2 million residents of the province should have contracted the virus by early March 2020.
The study conducted by Prof Yuen and the team was published in The Lancet and it made it clear that the official infection figure in Hubei just doesn't match with what the researchers have found.
After the revelation of the study, Chinese state-run media Global Times challenged the motives of this research, citing a Facebook post written by Stanley Ng Chau-pei, a pro-Beijing politician in Hong Kong. Ng slammed Prof Yuen for using 400-odd samples to gather the number of Coronavirus cases for the whole province of Hubei, instead of resorting to the official numbers from the Chinese authorities.