China concealed information about the COVID-19 cases a year ago, according to the executive director of the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW), Kenneth Roth.
“China clearly wants to avoid being blamed as the place where the pandemic started,” Roth explained at a press conference organized by the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) on Thursday.
The veteran U.S. activist noted that concealment during the mission was seen, for example, when Beijing “refused to share anonymous information about the first cases,” considering that only half of the 174 initially identified were related to Wuhan’s infamous Huanan market.
“There were 92 patients hospitalized in Wuhan with covid-like symptoms in October and November 2019, but China only gave WHO much later antibody tests, not scans or blood tests, tests that would have shown the outbreak was present a month or two earlier than admitted,” he said.
“Beijing continues to push the crazy theory that COVID-19 could have originated from contact with frozen food, despite the fact that there is no evidence that anyone anywhere in the world has been infected in this way,” Roth continued.
Roth was also critical of the recent mission of experts from the WHO and other partner organizations, accusing them of “giving credibility to that theory by saying that they are investigating it, giving an injection of propaganda to Beijing at a time when we should better focus on what they are hiding.”
The activist stressed that in the mission “there was no high-profile WHO member” and denounced alleged “institutional complicity” with China for “refusing to say anything critical against it” or helping in the beginning of 2020 to dismiss the possibility of human-to-human transmission.
“In three weeks in January 2020 the Chinese government removed information about human-to-human transmission, pretending that all cases were related to the Wuhan market,” as millions of people left the city, thousands of them for overseas, Roth recalled.