The Department of Homeland Security accused Chinese leaders of hiding information about the coronavirus so they could hoard medical supplies in a report obtained by The Associated Press.
The report alleges that Chinese officials “intentionally concealed the severity” of the virus in early January while it ramped up imports and decreased exports of medical supplies.
The report alleges that China tried to cover it up by “denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data.”
The report also says China stonewalled the World Health Organization throughout much of January so it could order medical supplies.
The report says the changes in imports and exports were “not within normal range.”
Pompeo pushes Wuhan lab theory:
The report came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed a theory that the virus originated from a lab in Wuhan, China.
“These are not the first times that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab,” Pompeo told ABC News. “And so, while the intelligence community continues to do its work, they should continue to do that, and verify so that we are certain, I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.”
Experts say the virus originated in bats and was not man-made.
“Many virologists say the chance that the outbreak was caused by a lab accident is very low, though scientists are still working to determine a point at which it may have jumped from animals to humans,” The AP reported.
Trump doubles down:
President Trump criticized China for refusing to allow outside inspectors to study the virus firsthand.
“Personally, I think they made a horrible mistake, and they didn’t want to admit it,” Trump told Fox News. “We wanted to go in, but they didn’t want us there. they made a mistake, they tried to cover it, like a fire… They couldn’t put out the fire.”
“What they really treated the world badly on, they stopped people going into China, but they didn’t stop people leaving China and going all over the world. I think they were embarrassed by the problem – very embarrassed,” he added. “They allowed this to go into our country, other countries. This should never have happened. This virus should not have spread all over the world.”