National Security

DHS report accuses China of intentionally downplaying coronavirus threat: AP

A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) intelligence report dated last week accuses China of intentionally downplaying the threat of the coronavirus to stock up on medical supplies, The Associated Press reported.

Chinese governmental leaders “intentionally concealed the severity” of the coronavirus from other countries in early January, according to the DHS report obtained by the AP. 

The report details that China increased its imports and reduced its exports of medical supplies, adding there was a 95 percent probability the trade behavior was not within a normal range. 

Analysis showed the country attempted to cover up the changes in trade by “denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data,” according to the AP. 

China also refrained from telling the World Health Organization that the virus “was a contagion” for most of January to gather an increase of supplies like face masks, surgical gowns and gloves from overseas. 

The report is released as the Trump administration has increased their blame of China for the pandemic. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday that the nation “did all that it could to make sure the world didn’t learn in a timely fashion” about coronavirus. 

President Trump has theorized that the virus could have been let loose because of a “mistake.” Some have speculated that the virus originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, which the U.S. intelligence agencies have said they are investigating. 

But opponents of the president have said the administration is pointing the finger to China to distract from domestic mistakes it had made when responding to the pandemic early on.

Worldwide, the coronavirus has infected a confirmed 3.49 million people, killing at least 246,475, according to data from Johns Hopkins University

The Hill has reached out to DHS for comment.

Tags China Coronavirus COVID-19 Department of Homeland Security Donald Trump Exports Imports medical supplies Mike Pompeo Trade
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