The global pandemic caused by the n-COVID-19 virus has literally caused several countries to lock themselves down, even as they struggle to contain the spread and mortalities caused by the virus. India so far has been dealing with the epidemic in nothing less than an admirable manner, with swift escalations wherever felt necessary and isolation from several countries. Occasional panic moments apart, the situation is for now definitely under control.
However, the country of origin of the n-COVID-19, China, seems to be indulging in psychological warfare despite their own inability and lockdown. More and more evidence is surfacing through to suggest that the Chinese government’s reaction to the n-COVID-19 was far from desirable.
First confirmed Case Now Traced Back to 17 November 2019
South China Morning Post (SCMP) yesterday reported access to government documents which state that the first confirmed case of n-COVID-19 could be traced back to 17 November 2019, at least three to four weeks before the official confirmation of the pandemic.
As per the report,
The first case of someone in China suffering from Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, was traced back to November 17, according to government data seen by the SCMP.
The Chinese authorities have so far identified at least 266 people who were infected last year, all of whom came under medical surveillance at some point.
Some of the cases were likely backdated after health authorities had tested specimens taken from suspected patients.
Interviews with whistle-blowers from the medical community suggest Chinese doctors only realised they were dealing with a new disease in late December.
The report elaborates that the as per the governmenta data seen by the Post, a 55 year-old from Hubei province could have been the first person, or Case Zero as it is stated in medical literature, to have contracted Covid-19 on November 17. From that date onwards, one to five new cases were reported each day. By December 15, the total number of infections stood at 27; the first double-digit daily rise was reported on December 17; and by December 20, the total number of confirmed cases had reached 60.
Efforts to Conceal Reality of the Covid-19 Outbreak
SCMP also reported how doctors in the city, despite collecting samples from suspected cases in late December, could not confirm their fndings because “they were bogged down by bureaucracy” especially approvals from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Moreover, the doctors were also ordered not to disclose any information about the new disease to the public.
As late as January 11, 2020, Wuhan’s health authorities were still claiming that there were just 41 confirmed cases. The government’s attempts to conceal the reality can also be gauged by the fact that the whistle blowing doctor, Dr. Li Wenliang, was sent a notice by the police on 30 December 2019.
Dr Li, an ophthalmologist, had posted his story on Weibo from a hospital bed a month after sending out his initial warning. The 34-year-old had noticed seven cases of a virus that he thought looked like SARS virus. He sent out a message to fellow doctors on 30 December 2019 in a chat group, warning them to wear protective clothing to avoid infection. However, four days later he was summoned to the Public Security Bureau where he was told to sign a letter. In the letter he was accused of “making false comments” that had “severely disturbed the social order”. He was one of eight people who police said were being investigated for “spreading rumours” Local authorities later apologised to Dr Li.
China Desperately Trying to Pin the Covid-19 Blame on the US
Far from addressing the issue comprehensively and acknowledging its mistakes, China has been desperately trying to put the blame on the United States of America for the Covid-19 outbreak. In a series of propaganda efforts, the Foreign Ministry of China’s spokesperson Lijian Zhao had blocked WION News for calling out the blatant falsehood of their government on the Covid-19 origins.
After we reported on how China is deflecting blame for the coronavirus outbreak, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson has blocked WION and @palkisu on Twitter. But, Beijing has not stopped making fresh claims about the Wuhan virus. It now blames US soldiers for the outbreak. pic.twitter.com/zxwuK1yvX3
— WION (@WIONews) March 13, 2020
Further, the government has been trying to block media outlets and banning them for reporting the truth. WION News, an Indian news channel had put the blame on China for underplaying the crisis and manhandling the situation, even as the top leadership in China escaped scrutiny when the crisis peaked. Demanding that China should be made to pay for the global pandemic, the op-ed had noted how China was busy slamming countries that issued travel advisories to China instead of taking more serious steps.
According to an estimate, the Coronavirus outbreak could cost the global economy $2.7 trillion.
As the disease spreads, China is now deflecting blame.
On #WIONEdit: Should China pay damages for its negligence? pic.twitter.com/72dESxpbrG
— WION (@WIONews) March 12, 2020
The fracas started after the Lijian Zhao, who is also the Deputy Director General of the Information Department of China’s Foreign Ministry,put out tweets on his official handle from a Senate hearing in the US, and tried to create an impression that the Covid-19 actually originated in America.
1/2 CDC Director Robert Redfield admitted some Americans who seemingly died from influenza were tested positive for novel #coronavirus in the posthumous diagnosis, during the House Oversight Committee Wednesday. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/vYNZRFPWo3
— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) March 12, 2020
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
This propaganda is not being taken seriously by people in general. In fact, most ordinary twitter users castigated Zhao for even trying this kind of absurdity.
I've sent multiple requests to your country's ministry of foreign affairs, but no response. https://t.co/VsGoM8CrfM
— Ahmed Zidan (@zidanism) March 13, 2020
In the times of a global pandemic, the behaviour of China is no different from that of a spoilt brat denied candy. All this bawling about the others would not serve well; instead, China must consider what went wrong and work on it so that such pandemics can be contained well before they go on to affect the entire world.