China defends its handling of the coronavirus pandemic in new report

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Senior Chinese officials released a lengthy report Sunday on the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, defending their government’s actions and saying that China had provided information in a timely and transparent manner.

China “wasted no time” in sharing information such as the genome sequence for the new virus with the World Health Organization as well as relevant countries and regional organizations, according to the report.

An Associated Press investigation found that government labs sat on releasing the genetic map of the virus for more than a week in January, delaying its identification in a third country and the sharing of information needed to develop tests, drugs and a vaccine.

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National Health Commission Chairman Ma Xiaowei did not address the specific findings in the AP report, but said it “seriously goes against the facts.” He added that there were many unknowns in the early stage of the outbreak and that it took time to gather evidence and figure out the characteristics of the new virus.

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“The Chinese government did not delay or cover up anything,” he said. “Instead, we have immediately reported virus data and relevant information about the epidemic to the international community and made an important contribution to the prevention and control of the epidemic around the world.”

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