The COVID-19 disease, caused by the new coronavirus, emerged in the provincial capital of Hubei late last year and is currently affecting 125 countries and territories across the globe. It has so far affected more than 130,000 people and killed more than 4,700 others.
The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.
The Chinese government had been criticized by Western media and particularly by the US officials for what was alleged to be a slow response to the outbreak and of not being sufficiently transparent. But Beijing has been taking strict measures since the outbreak began, including locking down Wuhan, a city of roughly 11 million people, which has since appeared to pay off.
The latest of these scathing comments by American officials came on Wednesday, when US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said that the speed of Beijing’s reaction to the emergence of the COVID-19 disease had probably cost the world two months when it could have been preparing for the outbreak.
He claimed that the Chinese government had “covered up” the outbreak in Wuhan.
“It probably cost the world community two months to respond,” during which “we could have dramatically curtailed what happened both in China and what’s now happening across the world,” O’Brien said.
On Thursday, in a strongly-worded tweet, written in English, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian rebuked the US for its alleged lack of transparency in official reports regarding the coronavirus outbreak in the US.
“When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!” Zhao wrote.
2/2 CDC was caught on the spot. When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation! pic.twitter.com/vYNZRFPWo3— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) March 12, 2020
China will win battle against coronavirus: President XiChinese President Xi Jinping says China should keep strong and it will win the battle against the new coronavirus, which has plagued many countries and has killed thousands of people so far.
Earlier in the day, another Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, lambasted US officials for “immoral and irresponsible” comments that blamed China’s response to the coronavirus for the worsening global impact of the pandemic.
Geng particularly refereed to remarks made by O’Brien, stressing that such comments by American officials would not help US epidemic efforts. He also said that China’s efforts to slow the spread of the disease had in fact bought the world time to prepare against the epidemic.
“We wish that a few officials in the US would at this time concentrate their energy on responding to the virus and promoting cooperation, and not on shifting the blame to China,” he added.