China has questions to answer over the information it shared about the novel coronavirus outbreak, but a post mortem over its role should come later, British Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace said yesterday.
Asked by LBC radio if China had questions to answer over how quickly it made the world aware of the extent of the crisis, Wallace said: “I think it does.”
“The time for the post mortem on this is after we’ve all got it under control and have come through it and our economies are back to normal,” Wallace said.
“China needs to be open and transparent about what it learnt, its short comings but also it’s successes,” he said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday said that there was “a significant amount of evidence” that the novel coronavirus emerged from a Chinese laboratory, but did not dispute US intelligence agencies’ conclusion that it “was not man-made.”
“There is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan,” Pompeo told ABC’s This Week.
“Remember, China has a history of infecting the world, and they have a history of running substandard laboratories,” he said.
“These are not the first times that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab,” Pompeo said, briefly contradicting a statement on Thursday by the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which said that the virus did not appear to be man-made or genetically modified.
Meanwhile, a four-page US Department of Homeland Security intelligence report dated on Friday and obtained by The Associated Press said that Chinese leaders “intentionally concealed the severity” of the pandemic from the world in early January to stock up on medical supplies needed to respond to it.
Not classified, but marked “for official use only,” the analysis states that, while downplaying the severity of the coronavirus, China increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies.
It attempted to cover up doing so by “denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data,” the analysis states.
The analysis also says China held off informing the WHO that the coronavirus “was a contagion” for much of January so that it could order medical supplies from abroad — and that its imports of masks and surgical gowns and gloves increased sharply.
China has repeatedly denied that it covered up any details about the COVID-19 outbreak.
The number of people from Hong Kong applying for residency in Taiwan last year rose 41 percent from a year earlier to 5,858, National Immigration Agency statistics showed. The statistics also showed that 600 applications were filed by Hong Kong residents in the first quarter of this year — three times the number filed in the same period last year — with applicants apparently not deterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one day after it was reported that the Chinese government plans to enact new national security laws in Hong Kong, inquiries regarding immigration to Taiwan grew 10-fold, a Hong Kong-based immigration
‘BEGINNING OF THE END’: Democracy advocate Joshua Wong urged Hong Kongers to stand up and fight, and let the Chinese government know that they will not cave Hong Kong protesters yesterday battled with riot police in busy downtown areas, showing their opposition toward China’s dramatic move to crack down on dissent in the biggest demonstration since the coronavirus swept through the territory in January. Police deployed a water cannon and fired tear gas in the Causeway Bay shopping area after hundreds of protesters had gathered to oppose new national security legislation from China. Police warned the crowd they were taking part in an illegal gathering, and later said in a statement that “rioters threw umbrellas, water bottles and other objects at them.” At least 120 people were arrested,
‘TAIWAN IS SAFE’: As there have been no new local cases for 42 days, people should feel free to travel around the nation — as long as they follow disease prevention rules No new cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday and only 20 of the people hospitalized after testing positive are still being treated in hospitals, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday in Pingtung County’s Kenting (墾丁) as he promoted a “new disease prevention lifestyle” for the nation. As yesterday was the 42nd consecutive day with no new domestic cases, and experts consider 28 consecutive days with no domestic case — the span of two incubation periods — a sign that a community is relatively safe, Taiwan is safe, said Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC),
SMOOTHER TRANSIT: Japan Airlines reportedly planned to land the flight at Haneda Airport, but changed it to Narita for direct flights to Taiwan The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked Japan for allowing 94 Taiwanese on a chartered plane evacuating others stranded in Russia, where COVID-19 cases are rising and many international flights have been canceled. Ninety-four Taiwanese exchange students and expats, as well as two Russian spouses, arrived at Narita International Airport in Japan yesterday morning on a charter flight operated by Japan Airlines, before taking a transfer flight to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport last night, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said. As of press time last night, Russia had reported more than 362,000 cases of COVID-19, including more than 3,800 deaths. The government had