The Chinese regime deliberately suppressed or destroyed evidence of the coronavirus outbreak, an Australian newspaper reported, citing an intelligence document that researched the origins of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak.
The 15-page report, which was obtained by The Saturday Telegraph, says the Chinese government -- to the "endangerment of other countries" -- covered up news of the virus by silencing or "disappearing" doctors who spoke out, destroying evidence of COVID-19 in laboratories and refusing to provide samples to scientists working on a vaccine.
The report was compiled by the Five Eyes intelligence agencies of the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom.
An almost week-long public silence by Chinese authorities on the COVID-19 coronavirus cost the world a chance to nip the pandemic in the bud, the Associated Press (AP) reported earlier on April 15.
Chinese officials in secret realised a deadly outbreak had occurred; however, they allowed Wuhan to host a mass banquet attended by tens of thousands, spreading the virus in all directions.
As of Monday (May 4), the COVID-19 coronavirus has led to a quarter of a million deaths, and over 3.5 million infections, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Assault on transparency
The actions of the Chinese government amount to an "assault on international transparency" that cost tens of thousands of lives, according to the dossier.
The document is likely to further increase pressure on the Chinese government to explain its actions and early statements.
World leaders have been urging the Chinese regime to be as transparent as possible about the coronavirus pandemic, as Beijing faces mounting pressure over its management of the crisis.
Critics have accused it of downplaying the scale and scope of the outbreak when it first emerged late last year, while theories speculate that the virus could have escaped from a lab.
US officials in 2018 issued several warnings about a research lab in Wuhan, China, saying it had inadequate safety measures while conducting risky studies on bat coronaviruses, the very type of virus that has upended the world in 2020.
The revelations strengthen speculation that the novel coronavirus COVID-19 did not come from a wet market, as Chinese authorities assert at times but rather from a government-funded lab.
If Chinese officials had been transparent about the novel coronavirus at the beginning, the world would be in a much better position right now to battle COVID-19, top health specialists say.
International concern has been growing about the accuracy of the information coming from Chinese officials, especially as the most of the world stands united in opposing the Chinese regime's coronavirus disinformation.