In a major embarrassment to Beijing, a group of UK scientists has released a report that stated that the number of coronavirus deaths in China was 10 tens higher than what was reported by the government.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) that provides scientific and technical advice to support government decision-makers during emergencies on May 5 released a set of documents containing minutes of internal meetings.
In the documents that are being dubbed as Sage files, the group of scientists has not accused China of lying about hiding the numbers but it just observes - "The number of confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in China is estimated to be at least 10 times higher than the number currently confirmed."
As per the official figures from the Chinese government, around 4,300 people have died of COVID 19 in the country. However, UK politicians time and again have accused China of lying about the actual figures.
The Sage files were released on the same day as China's Ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming issued a thinly veiled warning to senior Conservatives, including Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who said last month it could not be "business as usual" with China after Covid-19
Speaking in a China-Britain Business Council webinar, Liu said: "Such talks are a political virus. If they go unchecked they'll poison UK-China relations and even international solidarity."
Liu repeated China's stance that any calls for an inquiry into the outbreak are "politically motivated" and inspired by U.S. President Donald Trump. Some people in the British media "dance to the tune of American politicians and American media," he said.
There has been growing rhetoric in the Johnson government that now wants to drop China's Huawei as a partner in UK 5G plans as it has been hiding the actual coronavirus death figures.
In a sign of growing anger and distrust, UK deleted China from its official coronavirus graph.
The UK Coronavirus graph until April 22 showed the coronavirus figures from nine countries the UK, USA, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, South Korea, and China. But the China figures have been missing since April 23.
The Chinese state machinery has been playing down the numbers but reports based on interviews with Wuhan residents have put the figure of coronavirus deaths to be over 40,000 in that city alone.