China rejects 'unfair' accusation of initial coronavirus cover-up
Updated 22:50, 09-Apr-2020

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on Thursday rejected U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's remarks accusing China of an early stage coronavirus cover-up and slow reporting.

Responding to Pompeo's latest comments about China withholding information and having caused consequences, Spokesman Zhao Lijian said China has always shared information and data on the coronavirus in an open, transparent and responsible manner, and such accusation is not fair. 

Zhao urged the U.S. government to stop playing the blame game and focus on containing the outbreak.

Wuhan in central China, the epicenter of the virus, reopened on April 8 after a 76-day lockdown, which gives people across the globe hope that they too can overcome the war against COVID-19 and proves that China has effectively controlled the outbreak, Zhao said at a daily briefing in Beijing.

Speaking at a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Pompeo said every country has an obligation to share data quickly and completely and the U.S. will "leave for another time the assessment of how each country did."

Asked if he feels China withheld information and whether there will be consequences, Pompeo said, "This is not the time for retribution, but it is still the time for clarity and transparency."

Zhao said it is not fair to criticize China for hiding information in the early stages of the outbreak, as the COVID-19 virus was newly discovered and it took time for scientists to identify it.

China has made a huge sacrifice to stop the virus from spreading and won time for the world, and certain U.S. politicians should stop politicizing the virus, halt the blame game and focus on helping the American people get treatment, he said.

(Cover: U.S. President Donald Trump listens as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, April 8, 2020, in Washington. /AP)