Scientists Warned of Coronavirus in December but China Ordered Cover-Up, Report Shows
Researchers told Chinese government about their findings but were told to keep quiet
Chinese scientists raised the alarm about coronavirus in December but China's government told them to keep quiet about their findings and ordered a cover-up, according to a bombshell new report.
Researchers say that after warning government officials about their discovery, they were told to suppress the evidence, a report by the NY Post has claimed.
A number of sick patients was tested in Wuhan by genomics companies in December.
Scientists noticed similarities between their illnesses and SARS, the Post reports.
Researchers were told to keep quiet by China's National Health Commission after reporting their alarming discovery to Beijing.
It is understood that local officials did not tell representatives from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the outbreak when they visited Wuhan on January 8.
Shortly afterward on January 20, China launched a massive effort to contain the virus, shutting down Wuhan, according to The Daily Mail.
It comes as President Donald Trump banned travel to Iran after America reported its first death from the virus, also known as COVID-19.
The US president added that he was considering additional restrictions, including closing the border with Mexico in response to the outbreak.
WHO's Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told his half a million Twitter followers yesterday: "If you are 60+, or have an underlying condition like cardiovascular disease, a respiratory condition or diabetes, you have a higher risk of developing severe #COVID19.
"Try to avoid crowded areas, or places where you might interact with people who are sick."
In Australia, a 78-year-old man who contracted coronavirus on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan became the first Australian to die of the disease.
Emerging clusters in Italy and in Iran, which has had 43 deaths and 593 cases confirmed, have led to infections of people in other countries.
Iran has the highest death toll outside China, and health officials urged people not to attend funerals, as mass gatherings could help spread the virus.
Earlier on Saturday, Bahrain threatened to prosecute travelers who came from Iran and had not been tested.
The island nation has been hard-hit and shut down flights to halt the spread, and all its cases link back to Iran.
The US is banning travel to Iran and elevating travel warnings to regions of Italy and South Korea.
Vice President Mike Pence announced the new restrictions and warnings as President Trump said 22 people in the US have been infected by the coronavirus and that additional cases are "likely."
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said all passenger flights to and from Italy, Iraq and South Korea had been halted.
France and Germany were also seeing increases, with dozens of infections.
France is banning all indoor public gatherings of more than 5,000 people to slow the spread of coronavirus cases and recommending that people no longer greet each other with kisses.
The cancellation of large gatherings in confined spaces was announced by Health Minister Olivier Veran after special government meetings Saturday that focused on responses to the epidemic.
Having previously recommended that people avoid shaking hands, the minister said they should also cut back on "la bise," the custom in France and elsewhere in Europe of giving greetings with kisses, or air kisses, on the cheeks.
The tightened restrictions on public gatherings had an immediate impact.
A major four-day trade show in Cannes for property investors was postponed from March to June.
A half-marathon that was scheduled for Sunday in Paris also was canceled, as was a carnival in the Alpine town of Annecy, Veran announced.
He said other outdoor events and gatherings that might lead to a mixing of people from infected areas could also be canceled.
Public gatherings are being banned completely in the Oise region north of Paris that has seen a cluster of cases, and in a town in the foothills of the Alps that has also seen infections, he said.
Streets were deserted in the city of Sapporo on Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido, where a state of emergency was issued until mid-March.
Seventy cases - the largest from a single prefecture in Japan - have been detected in the island prefecture, where experts have raised concerns about growing clusters of patients with unknown transmission routes.
Prime minister Shinzo Abe, who has been criticized for lacking leadership and crisis management, stepped up measures earlier this week and urged school across the county to close until the end of March.
Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan announced they would close, and events expected to attract tens of thousands of people were called off, including a concert series by K-pop group BTS.