US intelligence tipped Israel on coronavirus outbreak in November?

US intelligence issued an early warning about the coronavirus to Israel and NATO as far back as November, Israel's Channel 12 claimed in a television broadcast.

US intelligence agencies were well aware of the coronavirus outbreak in China and had alerted officials in Israel about the deadly virus in November, according to an Israeli television report.

US knew about the outbreak in November?

According to Channel 12 news, the intelligence agencies learned about the emerging outbreak in Wuhan as it as it spread across the city in China's Hubei province around the second week of November and prepared a classified dossier based on that information, as reported by the Times of Israel.

At the time, information about the deadly virus was not yet made public and was only apparently known to the Chinese government. The Israeli news channel aired a story on Thursday claiming that the agencies shared the classified report on a new viral outbreak in China with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as well as senior NATO officials, after US President Donald Trump "did not deem it of interest."

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Wikimedia Commons

The broadcaster added that Israeli military officials in late November discussed the possibility of the virus spreading to the region and its potential impact. The dossier also made its way to the country's top officials but they decided not to act on it, according to the report.

"Still in November, the IDF held a first discussion regarding what impact this unknown disease would have were it to reach the Middle East. How would we be affected? How would it affect our neighbors? As you can imagine, the information [on the virus outbreak in China] did not remain solely with the IDF," the broadcast said as cited by i24 News.

The report "reached Israel's decision-makers and the Health Ministry," where ultimately "nothing was done," according to Channel 12.

US intelligence warned about coronavirus in December, claims another report

The television report is similar to a story published by ABC News last week, claiming that US intelligence officials had issued a warning about the coronavirus in a report prepared in November by the American military's National Center for Medical Intelligence.

The report warned that an outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan could become a "cataclysmic event" in late November. However, the story was swiftly dismissed by NCMI director Colonel R. Shane Day, who insisted "no such NCMI product exists" and that the report was simply "not correct." It is not yet clear if it was the same report that is said to have been shared with Israel.

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