China continued to face sustained pressure over the origins of the coronavirus as America accused China of playing games with people’s lives
China continued to face sustained pressure over the origins of the coronavirus as America accused China of playing games with people’s lives

'Let us into Wuhan’s COVID lab', US demands amid test uproar

The US has demanded China allow international experts to examine the suspected Wuhan COVID-19 lab while accusing Beijing of deliberately withholding testing materials.

As international sentiment continues to swing against the communist nation over its role in instigating the pandemic, European nations also accused China of sending them faulty testing materials.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US was pressuring China to let outside experts into the lab "so that we can determine precisely where this virus began."

"This is about science and epidemiology," he said.

The lab in Wuhan. Picture: Supplied
The lab in Wuhan. Picture: Supplied

"We need to understand what has taken place so that we can reduce risk to Americans in the days and weeks and months ahead and get the global economy back on track. It's very important.

"What this (Trump) administration has consistently done, with respect to the Chinese Communist Party, is demand they behave in a way that's consistent with international norms."

A member of President Donald Trump's task force to reopen US economies accused China of deliberately withholding coronavirus testing kits from America.

Senator Kelly Loeffler said China was "playing games" with the US and refusing to supply much-needed testing kits.

 

US Senator Kelly Loeffler. Picture: Supplied
US Senator Kelly Loeffler. Picture: Supplied

"Well, I've stayed in close contact with our health care providers. In fact, I'm leaving here to get on a call with heads of hospitals," Ms Loeffler said.

"The president acknowledges that testing is core to opening our country back up. The governor is working hard on it.

"But, I've got to tell you, I'm concerned that China is holding up test kits. They are playing games with trade policy to prevent us - the United States - from getting the testing that we need."

Meanwhile, America's arguably most powerful Governor, Andrew Cuomo from New York, called on the President to negotiate with China to get hold of vital chemicals that are needed to carry out COVID-19 testing.

"The next frontier in reopening America is going to be testing, and COVID testing is a very complicated new task," Mr Cuomo said.

 

 

"It's not as simple as drawing blood and getting it tested. The tests require certain chemical reagents to operate and we can't get hold of the chemicals. And the chemicals come out of where? China. Everything goes back to China.

"And China is now in a position where they are being asked globally for these chemicals and that is why the federal government has to be part of this approach, I don't do China relations."

However, the number of tests from China is not the only problem.

In the scramble to obtain the lifesaving kits, countries like Spain, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey, and Britain have all been sent faulty antigen or antibody coronavirus tests purchased from Chinese companies - in some cases, costing those governments millions.

 

Medical staff carry out a COVID-19 test. Picture: AP
Medical staff carry out a COVID-19 test. Picture: AP

The country of Georgia has cancelled a contract with the same company that sent flawed kits to Spain and Malaysia has opted to buy their testing kits from South Korea instead of China.

But, the desperation of the world has still created a paradise for con artists and scammers.

The Chinese official who made the stunning and baseless claim that the US Army introduced the virus to Wuhan, Zhao Lijian, claimed ongoing suspicions about the lab were generated by the US "simply to confuse the public, divert attention and shirk responsibility."

Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron joined the chorus of leaders calling for China to tell the truth about the virus, saying it would be "naive" to think China had handled the pandemic well, adding: "There are clearly things that have happened that we don't know about."

One of President Trumps two leading COVID-19 advisers, Dr Anthony Fauci, has also raised doubts about China's information sharing.

 

"I mean I think any of us who have been dealing with this now for the last few months don't feel confident at all that we have all of the data of the originally infected individuals, how long there were people in the circulation or even now, how many deaths there really are in China," Dr Fauci said.

Mr Pompeo also said China's role in the global coronavirus pandemic is likely to force countries to rethink doing any work with China-based Huawei's 5G networks.

Asked about use of Huawei and 5G, Pompeo said: "I am very confident that this moment - this moment where the Chinese Communist Party failed to be transparent and open and handle data in an appropriate way - will cause many, many countries rethink what they were doing with respect to their telecom architecture.

"And when Huawei comes knocking to sell them equipment and hardware, that they will have a different prism through which to view that decision."

Originally published as Let us into Wuhan's COVID-19 lab, US demands amid testing uproar


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