It was in Wuhan, China that the Coronavirus first appeared in 2019. Since that day, it continues to oppress the world, and questions about its origin still rage on. But it is not the only issue on the table. Indeed, China has often been accused of having downplayed the epidemic and not having rung the alarm early enough when it comes to the virus' serious threat. And things are not about to get better, to say the least. Just recently,the ITV channel produced a documentary called Outbreak: The Virus That Shook The World, which aired on 19 January, featuring testimonials fromWuhan doctors, at the pandemic's epicentre, claiming that the authorities did indeed tell them to remain silent about the virus.
'We were told to shut up'
As explained by theDaily Mail, the documentary shows interviews with a group of doctors in Wuhan. They explain that they understood theseriousness of the virus and its infectiousness from the very beginning. A first doctor says:
We all thought that there should be no doubt regarding human-to-human transmission.
Another doctor declares:
In fact, in late December or early January, a family member of someone i know died from the virus. Many of those who lived with him were also infected, including people I know.
A third doctor explains:
We knew the virus was transmitted from person to person. But when we attended a meeting at the hospital, we were told to shut up. The provincial officials told the hospital not to tell the truth.
China got in touch with the WHO for the first time on December 31, 2019, and identified 27 cases of the virus.
A big mistake
According to these doctors, the authorities were therefore also aware of the seriousness of the health situation. And regardless, they kept it under wraps and let the Lunar New Year festivities happen unimpeded, a time when family reunions and trips are plentiful.
They shouldn't have allowed the gatherings. Local and provincial governments knew of the threat but continued to allow crowds to gather.
In the documentary, we can also hear Taiwanese virologists likeDr. Yi-Chun Lo, infectious disease specialist and deputy director general of the agency of Taiwanese Centers for Disease Control. He thinks that China has not reacted well.
The handling of the first stages of the epidemic was a disaster, a failure. I think the pandemic could have been wholly avoided at the start if China had been transparent and quickly brought up the necessary information to the rest of the world.
Dr Yin-Ching Chuan of the Taiwan Infectious Disease Prevention and Treatment Network also spoke of his suspicions about possible cover-ups from China. After being sent to the country to investigate COVID-19, he struggled to get answers there.
What was the scale of the infection? How vast was the epidemic? How many patients were infected? We had no idea. Only they did know. Why didn't China talk about inter-human transmission to other countries before?
The Chinese government has not commented on these statements. But on several occasions, it has been suspected of havingwithheld crucial information. The country has always refuted these charges.