A respected Chinese virologist claimed that the Chinese government had hidden the coronavirus epidemic and said that she was forced to flee Honk Kong because she “knows how they treat whistleblowers.”
Dr. Li-Meng Yan, a specialist in virology and immunology at the Hong Kong School of Public Health, said that Beijing knew about the new coronavirus long before it claimed it.
Speaking in an interview with Fox News, she also said that her supervisors – many of whom were reputed to be some of the best experts in their field – had ignored the research she had undertaken since the start of the epidemic, which ultimately led to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
She believes her research on the coronavirus could have saved lives and risked hers by fleeing to the United States to share her story, knowing that it is likely that she will never be able to return to Hong Kong.
As a World Health Organization reference laboratory specializing in influenza viruses and pandemics, she also believes that she and her colleagues had an obligation to tell the world about her research – but no action is needed. ‘has been taken.
In an interview with Fox News (photo above), Dr. Li-Meng Yan, a specialist in virology and immunology at the Hong Kong School of Public Health, said that the Beijing authorities had concealed the coronavirus at the start of the epidemic.
Yan says she was one of the first scientists to study the coronavirus that would become known as Covid-19, and says that at the end of December 2019, her supervisor at the University – Dr. Leo Poon – asked him to examine a strange group of SARS-like cases in mainland China.
“The Chinese government has refused to let foreign experts, including those from Hong Kong, do research in China,” she told Fox News. “So I turned to my friends for more information.
A friend she contacted was a scientist from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China who she said had direct knowledge of the cases from Wuhan.
Her friend told Yan on December 31 about human-to-human transmissions, sometime before China or WHO admitted it was possible with Covid-19, and on the same day, a group of 27 cases of pneumonia were reported. in Wuhan where he is. believed that the virus originated.
When she told her supervisor what her friend had reported, “he just nodded,” Yan remembers and told him to continue working on his research.
On January 9, the WHO released a statement that said, “According to Chinese authorities, the virus in question can cause serious illness in some patients and is not easily spread between people.
“There is little information to determine the overall risk of this reported cluster.”
Following this, she said that her contacts who had previously spoken openly fell silent – particularly in Wuhan – while others warned Yan not to ask for details.
Scientists believe the virus may have originated in bats and was then transmitted by another mammal such as a civet cat or an armadillo-like pangolin before being transmitted to people at a fresh market in the city Wuhan power plant in China at the end of last year
However, some of her sources told her that the number of human-to-human transmissions was increasing exponentially, but when she reported her findings to her supervisor, she said she was told to “keep quiet and pay attention “.
“As he warned me before, ‘Don’t touch the red line,'” Yan told Fox News, referring to the government. “We will be in trouble and we will be gone. “
Yan also says that Professor Malik Peiris – co-director of a laboratory affiliated with WHO – was aware of the spread of the disease but did not act.
While Yan says she was frustrated, she was not surprised. “I already know it would happen because I know about corruption in this type of international organization like the WHO against the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party,” she said.
“So basically … I accept it but I don’t want this misleading information to spread around the world. “
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, pictured above at this year’s World Health Assembly in Geneva, was hammered by the United States for praising China’s transparency in the first stages of the epidemic, while others have criticized the country for not sharing enough data to assess the effectiveness of the spread of the virus among people
China and the WHO have firmly denied the allegations of concealment, while the WHO has denied ever having worked with Yan, his supervisor Poon or Professor Peiris, saying in a statement that while Peiris is an expert who has been on mission and expert, he is not a staff member and does not represent WHO.
Yan is now hiding after traveling to the United States and is concerned that his life is in danger. She also claims that at home, the Chinese government is working to sabotage her reputation, intimidate her family and carry out cyber attacks against her.
The University of Hong Kong deleted its page from its website and, in a statement to Fox News, said that “Dr. Li-Meng Yan is no longer a staff member of the University”.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy in the United States told the news station that it had no knowledge of Yan and claimed that China had handled the pandemic well.