Chinese health care workers admitted in secret tapes that they knew how dangerous COVID-19 was when it first emerged in Wuhan — but were pressured into lying about it, a new documentary claims.
“We knew this virus transmitted from human to human. But when we attended a hospital meeting, we were told not to speak out,” one doctor said in a covertly recorded interview for the ITV documentary “Outbreak: The Virus That Shook The World.”
Doctors from the original epicenter of Wuhan were captured claiming that the virus was spreading rapidly in the early days of the health crisis, despite government officials reporting no new cases for 12 days after Jan. 5, the Sun reported.
It is unclear where the doctors worked. The documentary is set to air Tuesday night on the British free-to-air channel.
“Many people said there was no human-to-human transmission in the early period, including the experts from Beijing. They all said the same thing,” another doctor claimed in the documentary, Metro UK reported.
Doctors from the original epicenter of Wuhan were captured on video claiming that COVID-19 was spreading rapidly in the early days of the health crisis.Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images
Others alleged the government also lied about there being no deaths until Jan. 9.
“There were deaths every day in the early days,” a person identified as a senior medical professional said.
Another doctor recalled knowing that the virus was deadly as early as December 2019.
“Actually, at the end of December or beginning of January, the relative of someone I know died of this virus,” the doctor claimed.
The health care workers also alleged that local officials knew it was risky to hold Lunar New Year celebrations.
“People suggested at city level that it shouldn’t go ahead, but it did because such an event would present a harmonious and prosperous society,” one said.
The stunning revelations come as a panel of experts commissioned by the World Health Organization criticized China for not moving fast enough to attempt to halt the outbreak.
“What is clear to the panel is that public health measures could have been applied more forcefully by local and national health authorities in China in January,” the report said.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, however, defended its response.
One doctor featured in the documentary recalled knowing COVID-19 was deadly as early as December 2019.Yonhap/AFP/Getty Images
“As the first country to sound the global alarm against the epidemic, China made immediate and decisive decisions,” she said.
“All countries, not only China, but also the US, the UK, Japan or any other countries, should all try to do better,” Hua added.
With Post wires