Hong Kong virologist claims China covered up coronavirus threat

A Hong Kong virologist who fled to the United States in April this year has claimed that China knew about the deadly COVID-19 infection much before it claimed it did and that her supervisors at her university as well as higher-ups had an obligation to inform with the world.

Li-Meng Yan, in an interview to Fox News on Friday said her supervisors ignored her research being carried out when the pandemic had just started that she believes could have saved lives.

Mrs. Yan has specialised in virology and immunology at the Hong Kong School of Public Health.

“The reason I came to the US is because I deliver the message of the truth of COVID,” she told Fox News from an undisclosed location, adding that she “will be disappeared and killed” if she had attempted to tell her story in China.

Yan says she was one of the first scientists in the world to study the coronavirus and was allegedly asked by her supervisor, Dr Leo Poon, last year to look into the cluster of SARS-like cases emerging from mainland China.

The China government refused to let overseas experts, including ones in Hong Kong, do research in China,” she said. “So I turned to my friends to get more information.”

A scientist friend working at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China, who knew about the cases, in December allegedly told Yan about human-to-human spread much before China or the World Health Organization (WHO) WHO admitted to the possibility.

When Yan informed her supervisor, “he just nodded”, she said, telling her to continue working.

Yan realised her Chinese colleagues soon stopped talking about the virus and would refrain from discussing the issue.

As the virus was peaking in Yan decided to leave Hong Kong, sneaking out in the middle of the night of April 28 to catch a Cathay Pacific flight to the US.

Yan is now in hiding and claims that the Chinese government is trying to tarnish her reputation, accusing “government goons” of setting up a cyber-attack against her in order to keep her quiet. Yan said the Hong Kong government tore apart her apartment in her hometown of Qingdao and also questioned her parents. When she spoke to them, they begged her to come home.

China denied the claim of “covering up” the extent of its coronavirus outbreak and has accused the US of attempting to divert public attention.