A CHINESE doctor has accused Wuhan officials of destroying crucial coronavirus evidence in astonishing cover-up claims.
Professor Kwok-Yung Yuen even claims the aggressive clean-up at the Wuhan wet market at the centre of the pandemic was comparable to a “crime scene” being “disturbed”.
The comments by the professor – whose team identified the SARS virus in 2003 – will raise further questions of China’s transparency concerning the coronavirus outbreak.
The virus has infected more than 16 million people and killed 694,000 worldwide after cases are believed to have exploded from a wet market in Wuhan.
And Kwok-Yung Yuen, speaking to the BBC’s Panorama programme, is sceptical about how the site has been handled.
He said: “I do suspect that they have been doing some cover-up locally in Wuhan.
“The local officials who are supposed to be immediately relaying the information has not allowed this to be done as rapidly as it should.
Prof Yuen was part of a team of scientists who was sent to Wuhan on January 18th.
He arrived to find the market had already been disinfected and any evidence of animal to human transmission lost.
“When we went to the Wuhan seafood market, of course there was nothing to see because the market was cleaned already.
“So you may say that the crime scene was already disturbed because the seafood market was cleared we cannot identify the animal host which is giving the virus to humans.”
Prof Yuen added that he believed Beijing continued to play down the seriousness of the virus – despite clear evidence of human transmission.
“I know how efficient the virus was spreading and I know that it is acquired in hospital and I know that it can go with people by flights from one city, thousands of miles away.
“There is one thing that I learned [during the SARS outbreak] … if you don’t make use of every hour, you are in big, big trouble.”
Professor Andrew Tatem, of Southampton University, has been researching mobile phone data which shows people’s movement in and out of the Wuhan area before lockdown was imposed.
He criticised the slow action taken which he fears may have been costly.
He told the BBC: “If the same interventions that were put in place on 23 January had been put in place on 2 January, we may have seen a 95 per cent reduction in the number of cases.”
China has rejected claims that they should be blamed for the outbreak and argued they acted with “openess and transparency” at all times.
The country has agreed to join an international inquiry but only after the crisis is over.
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The criticisms of China’s handling come as the country attempts to fend off another wave of infection.
They have today recorded their highest case count since April, with 61 new infections.
Their struggles coincide with cases surging in the US again and India recording nearly 50,000 new daily cases of Covid-19, believed to be the highest daily figure so far.
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