US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo complained that China refused to share early samples of the coronavirus collected in late December. In response to these accusations an official with the Chinese National Health Commission, Liu Dengfeng, responded that the samples were destroyed in line with public health laws to prevent the risk to laboratory biological safety.
China’s acknowledgement of the destruction of the Covid-19 samples appeared to confirm the US accusations, Dengfeng insisted that it was not done to cover up or hide samples from other countries.
Dengfeng also said that it is a standard practice in China and that public health laws specify that laboratories which do not meet certain requirements must either transfer samples to a qualified depositary for safekeeping or destroy them.
As tension continues to grow between the U.S. and China, Pompeo has been attacking the Chinese Communist Party for what he claims were attempts to cover up the extent of the outbreak, which has so far killed more than 88,000 people in the United States.
Furthermore, president Donald Trump has said several times that China’s handling of the coronavirus is proof that Beijing will do anything they can to ensure he isn’t reelected in November.