China has made a stunning allegation against the US saying it may have brought the coronavirus to Wuhan and caused the epidemic that's unleashing distress and deaths around the world. China's foreign ministry spokesperson Lijian Zhao said this while referring to the admission by the director of the US Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the country had many deaths before they were able to test for the virus.
Zhao lambasted the US for the late admission and accused it of lacking transparency. "When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be the US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!" Zhao said in a English tweet. Earlier, CDC Director Robert Redfield some cases of coronavirus in the US had been misdiagnosed.
Chinese anger against profiling, conspiracy theories
Coming from a responsible and highly placed Chinese official, the charge is astounding, even after discounting the Chinese anger against the West for blaming it for various things like a cover-up of the death toll. China was also cut up with the alleged racial profiling as well as insinuations that the coronavirus may have been leaked from a Wuhan lab.
When the senior Chinese official says the American military may have brought the virus to Wuhan, the reference is to the Military World Games in Wuhan last year in which the US participated. Wuhan had hosted 2019 Military World Games, officially known as the 7th CISM Military World Games, between October 18–27 in Wuhan.
The deadly coronavirus strain, officially named Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation, broke out in Wuhan in late last year. While China bore the brunt of the virus in the initial stages, seeing more than 3,000 deaths, the focus has now shifted to the West.
Iran made similar charge earlier
The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards had also made a similar claim last week. The Iranians said Covid-19 was possibly produced as a biological weapon by the US and had it had deliberately spread it in Iran and China, two of its chief adversaries. However, the theory, as outlandish as it sounds, does not explain why Nato ally Italy is the worst hit now.
The US congress has received a report that says between 70 and 150 million people could be infected with the novel coronavirus in the US, a Congresswoman said on Thursday. "Congress's attending physician told the Senate that he expects between 70 to 150 million people to eventually contract the coronavirus in the United States," Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said at the House of Representatives.
Italy remains worst-hit
In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the scare is not over yet and more people are going to die from coronavirus, in the country. Italy's crisis deepened on Thursday with deaths going past 1,000 even as most of the country is under lockdown. As many as daily death toll jumped by 189 on Thursday.
While the exact origins of the novel coronavirus is not yet established conclusively, experts have said it might have spread from a Wuhan meat market. The virus may have developed in snakes or bats and then spread to the humans at the market where Chinese shop for assorted live animals.
However, in January, an Israeli biological warfare analyst kicked up a row when he made the sensational claim that the Coronavirus 2019-nCoV was developed by China as part of its covert biological weapons programme. The claim got wide currency after it was picked up by the Washington Times.
While China questions the US over its patient zero, Beijing has also not been come out with a plausible theory around its own patient zero. However, with the outbreak seemingly in control, China has lately pushed it back against the detractors who blamed it for the epidemic.
China mouthpiece criticices US
Earlier this week, influential Communist Party mouthpiece Global Times accused the US of gross inefficiency in handling its own virus problem. "This is worrisome because the US, the world's superpower which is thought to have the strongest medical resources in the world, can't even confirm the exact number of COVID-19 infections," the publication said.
"It's time for the US and the West to let go of their egotism, start to confront the epidemic from the perspective of protecting people's lives and health, learn from China's experience, adopt effective measures and jointly cooperate on defeating COVID-19 with other countries," it added.