Beijing said its initial response to the outbreak was adequate after health experts claimed it could have acted faster.
China has defended its actions as “swift and decisive” to contain the early coronavirus outbreak, berating critical made by a group of independent experts on the management of the epidemic by Beijing.
“As the first country to sound the alarm against the pandemic, we took swift and decisive action even though we had incomplete information at the time,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday. , Hua Chunying.
Hua said Beijing had imposed early measures – including announcing a strict lockdown on Wuhan weeks after the virus was detected – that “reduced infections and deaths.”
His comments came after the publication of the Interim Report of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response which highlighted how China could have acted “faster” against a virus that has now killed more than two million people worldwide. .
The expert group was formed last year following a request from member countries of the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) to identify new information on the spread of COVID-19 .
“What is clear to the panel is that public health measures could have been enforced more vigorously by local and national health authorities in China in January,” said the panel, led by the former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson. Sirleaf.
The panel also reserved criticism of the UN agency, raising questions about why it did not convene an emergency expert committee before January 22. He also wondered why the WHO had not called the situation a global health emergency before January 30, while failing to do so. qualify the epidemic as a pandemic until early March.
Lack of transparency
Beijing has faced international criticism for an alleged lack of transparency after the virus emerged in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019 and for stifling whistleblowers who tried to sound the alarm. The country has also tried to shift the pandemic’s narrative from early chaos in Wuhan to the country’s success in stopping the spread of the virus.
China has also cast doubt on the origin of COVID-19 in Wuhan while silencing critics including citizen journalist Zhang Zhan who was jailed for four years for reporting on conditions inside Wuhan. at the height of the epidemic.
On the day of the publication of the panel report, the Al Jazeera Investigation Unit released 3 days that stopped the world, which showed the city of Wuhan during a crucial time at the start of the pandemic.
Images – taken by two Chinese journalists – that were smuggled out of the country show how the Chinese government failed to provide necessary medical resources while attempting to censor journalists trying to report on the outbreak.