Following numerous allegations by the United States and Donald Trump against China that the virus was produced in the laboratory, it appears that China itself has acknowledged that it destroyed several Coronavirus specimens in the early stages of its outbreak, but contradicted U.S. claims that this was done as part of a cover.
Liu Dengfeng, a supervisor in the science and education department of China’s National Health Commission, told a news conference Friday in Beijing that the Chinese government issued an order on January 3 to destroy coronavirus samples, Newsweek writes.
Liu, however, denied that their destruction had taken place in an attempt to cover up the situation, insisting that the move was taken in order to "prevent the risk of biological laboratory safety and prevent secondary disasters caused by unidentified pathogens". He said the laboratories were "unauthorized" to treat such samples, and that they should be destroyed in accordance with Chinese public health laws. The official did not say how many laboratories had performed the operation. His assertion comes amid escalating diplomatic relations between the United States and China over the 2019 outbreak of an epidemic in Wuhan.
The Chinese Communist Party has not yet shared with the world the virus samples from inside China, "he said, making it impossible to track the evolution of the disease. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has argued since last month that the January 3 order was an attempt to cover up the extent of the blast. He has accused China of censoring research into coronavirus. "The Chinese Communist Party tried to suppress the information about this virus, about the place where it started, about the way it started, about the way it was being transmitted from person to person," Pompeo said on Monday.