Advertisement

China defends its handling of the coronavirus pandemic in new report

Coronavirus outbreak: China supports a review committee to study origins of COVID-19
WATCH: China supports a review committee to study origins of COVID-19

Senior Chinese officials released a lengthy report Sunday on the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, defending their government’s actions and saying that China had provided information in a timely and transparent manner.

China “wasted no time” in sharing information such as the genome sequence for the new virus with the World Health Organization as well as relevant countries and regional organizations, according to the report.

An Associated Press investigation found that government labs sat on releasing the genetic map of the virus for more than a week in January, delaying its identification in a third country and the sharing of information needed to develop tests, drugs and a vaccine.

READ MORE: ‘Many questions’ after report that WHO praised China to get COVID-19 data: Trudeau

National Health Commission Chairman Ma Xiaowei did not address the specific findings in the AP report, but said it “seriously goes against the facts.” He added that there were many unknowns in the early stage of the outbreak and that it took time to gather evidence and figure out the characteristics of the new virus.

Story continues below advertisement

“The Chinese government did not delay or cover up anything,” he said. “Instead, we have immediately reported virus data and relevant information about the epidemic to the international community and made an important contribution to the prevention and control of the epidemic around the world.”

Coronavirus outbreak: Trump boasts U.S. had greatest economy in history before the ‘China plague floated in’
Coronavirus outbreak: Trump boasts U.S. had greatest economy in history before the ‘China plague floated in’

He ticked off a series of government actions from a detailed timeline in the government report. The timeline says that China began updating the WHO on a regular basis on Jan. 3 and that the head of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention briefed the head of the U.S. CDC on Jan. 4.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

U.S. officials have been critical of China’s early response, adding to a deterioration of U.S.-China relations over trade and technology and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

READ MORE: Canada now has more than 95,000 coronavirus cases — more than 34K are active

Story continues below advertisement

Asked how China would repair its relations with the rest of the world, Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu said that co-operation over the pandemic had improved ties with most other countries.

Without naming the U.S., he said: “Certain countries go against the tide of history. To disguise their inadequate response to COVID-19, they insanely smeared and slandered China … . In response to such scapegoating practice, China will certainly fight back.”

Coronavirus outbreak: ‘Many questions’ after report that WHO praised China to get COVID-19 data, Trudeau says
Coronavirus outbreak: ‘Many questions’ after report that WHO praised China to get COVID-19 data, Trudeau says

The report, which ran 66 pages in the English version, lauded China’s success in reducing the daily increase in new cases to single digits within about two months and the “decisive victory … in the battle to defend Hubei Province and its capital city of Wuhan” in about three months.

Wuhan, where the first cases of the virus were detected late last year, was the hardest-hit part of China in the outbreak. The city and soon after much of Hubei province were locked down for 2 to 2 1/2 months to stop the spread of the virus to the rest of the country.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Archived: Live updates on coronavirus in Canada

The report credited Chinese leader Xi Jinping with making the Jan. 22 decision to cut Wuhan off by cutting transportation links and banning people from leaving or entering the city.