Chinese Government has been accused for covering up coronavirus breakout at initial stage causing massive spread of the virus. Is it really? Let’s look at some evidences of the claim:
1. the arrest of 8 persons who exposed that the virus could be transmitted man to man on internet, were arrested for spreading rumors. They are finally released and charge dropped;
2. Foreign Ministry CY Hua “accidentally” leaked that the virus was known and China has notified the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on 3rd Jan 2020, but did not notify people in Wuhan until too late;
Q: The US still says China is refusing US offer of help. Is this accurate?
A: Since the outbreak of the epidemic, some countries have provided support and assistance to help China fight against the epidemic through various means. We are grateful for that.
But as far as I know, the US government has not provided any substantive help to the Chinese side yet. On the contrary, it was the first to withdraw its consulate staff from Wuhan, the first to suggest the partial withdrawal of embassy staff, the first to announce a ban on entry by Chinese citizens after the WHO made it clear that it doesn’t recommend and even opposes travel and trade restrictions against China. What the US has done could create and spread panic.
In a globalized world, the destinies of all countries are closely linked. In the face of a public health crisis, countries should work together to overcome the difficulties, rather than resort to beggar-thy-neighbor practice, let alone take advantage of others’ difficulties.
China has strengthened cooperation with the WHO and the international community in an open, transparent and responsible manner. Since January 3, we notified the US of the epidemic and our control measures altogether 30 times. Chinese Center for Disaster Control and Prevention and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held many rounds of communications on the outbreak. On January 29, China’s National Health Commission replied through official channel to the US that we welcome it to join a WHO joint expert group. The US thanked China for this on the same day. On January 31, the US told China’s National Health Commission that it had contacted WHO headquarters and submitted a list of US experts wishing to join the group.
China will continue cooperating with WHO and countries concerned including the US to safeguard the life and health of people of all countries.
3. Wuhan Mayor claimed that the situation was reported to central government as soon as discovered;
4. Wuhan has locked down on 25th Jan 2020 preventing people moving in or out of most cities in Hebei province, which is 3 weeks after China notified the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
Why disease warning was not announced earlier?
We have to understand that panics cause more damage than disease itself. There are no shortage of fake news on internet deliberately causing panics in our society, regardless their purposes behind the screen.
As a responsible government, news have to be released with consideration of social stability. Many blamed government that if the truth was released earlier, it won’t be as bad as now. This is totally nonsense.
At the time, what virus it is, where is the source, the capability of the virus, the way virus is transmitted, etc. were unknown to Chinese Government. It is unrealistic for Chinese Government to announce anything in that period of time without further investigation, seeking specialists opinions. Without knowing the disease, what do you expect government to tell you? The world didn’t know how this virus was transmitted until recent weeks. Virus trace was found on door handle being discovered few days ago. Without details of how to prevent, what to do, announcing such disease doesn’t help but creating unnecessary panics.
We can easily predict that if such news was announced without understanding of the disease, apart from panics, it produce nothing. Panic would cause people in Wuhan from spreading out to other places, including foreign countries. The virus spreading speed and scale would be much faster and wider than now. Wuhan lockdown shows intention of the Chinese Government in containing virus spreading. There is no other country posses equal or better efficiency than Chinese Government. Without such painful decision, the foreign confirmed infection figure would not be this low. Instead of attacking Chinese Government, you should really thank them from containing virus efficiently.
Premature announcement not only helpless to the incident but creating chaos to our community. Panic would cause excessive purchase of food, and isolation required products. Selling prices will rocket rise for excessive demand. Necessary population movement rapidly spread possible infected people to the whole country, and to foreign countries, become much harder to control. From Youtube channels and news in Hong Kong and Taiwan, it is not hard to sense their excessive tension of Coronavirus breakout, possibly due to the sad experience of SARS in 2003. Anti-china brands are taking this opportunity to attack Chinese Government for covering truth and delay in announcing the incident. It is predictable if Chinese Government announce such which speed up Taiwanese and Hongkongers returning back. Well, certainly the infection cases would be much higher than now.
Regardless if Chinese Government announce it earlier or not, it won’t help to stop virus from spreading. However, we support Chinese Government to announce only when many details become known and the methods of preventing virus transmission are identified. It is ignorant to accuse Chinese Government for delaying public announcement.
To readers, if you come across reports and news online where they report figures of infected, suspect and dead, missing cured figure, think about why those media deliberately hiding the recovered figure.