The Department of Homeland Security has backed the US administration’s criticism of Beijing’s early response to the coronavirus outbreak with a new intelligence report, which has already been leaked to the media.
Back in January, China decreased exports and sharply increased its imports of basic medical supplies like face masks and surgical gowns and gloves, while simultaneously “denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data,” the Associated Press reports, citing excerpts from a DHS document marked “for official use only” and dated May 1.
The US intelligence assessment concludes that with a “95% probability” this behavior was “not within normal range,” and that China “intentionally concealed the severity” of the health crisis from the global community.
Beijing knew the coronavirus “was a contagion,” but held off informing the World Health Organization “for much of January,” the agency said, offering no precise timeline.
The new leak further reinforces Washington’s case against Beijing, which seeks to pin the bulk of the blame for thousands of American deaths and the US economic meltdown on its rival. It follows another “intelligence dossier” leak (which has also yet to be made public for independent scrutiny) just the day before, that analysed China’s “Covid-19 cover-up.”
Top US officials, including President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, repeatedly referred to a mounting pile of evidence that the pandemic was a result of China’s “mistake,” if not a leak at a lab in Wuhan, but have so far resisted the public and media pressure to show this evidence.