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China rejects reports that first Covid-19 case occurred in November

A woman holding an umbrella rides a shared bicycle past an image of the Chinese flag after the lockdown was lifted in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and China’s epicentre of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.(REUTERS)

China on Monday rejected reports that the earliest case of Covid-19 in its territory occurred last November and that it had concealed the real situation regarding the pandemic, describing them as a distortion of facts.

Chinese embassy spokesperson Ji Rong said in a statement: “Recently, certain Indian media ignored the facts that China had officially released and continued to blame China for concealing the real situation. These claims are fact-distorting and irresponsible.”

Ji noted that the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in China’s central Hubei province detected cases of unknown pneumonia in late December 2019, and the Wuhan municipal health commission issued an urgent notification to medical institutions to appropriately treat patients.

On January 7, Chinese President Xi Jinping issued instructions on an epidemic response while chairing a meeting of the standing committee of the political bureau of the central committee of the Communist Party of China, and on January 23, China took “unprecedented, decisive and strong measures” to shut down Wuhan’s outbound channels, she said.

“During the fight against the epidemic, the Chinese government has always maintained an open and transparent attitude on timely releasing and sharing of epidemic information,” Ji said.

Since January 3, China has regularly informed the World Health Organization (WHO) and other countries, including the US, about the outbreak. It has also held daily press conferences since January 27, she said.

“Virus knows no national borders, and the epidemic distinguishes no races. Only with solidarity and by cooperation, can the international community prevail over the pandemic…At present, the Indian people are fighting against the epidemic under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. China will stand together with India to jointly overcome the epidemic at an early date,” Ji said.

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