By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) Adding more intrigue to an already intrigue-filled outbreak of another deadly coronavirus that originated in China, authorities there are reportedly ordering all government offices to destroy any data related to COVID-19.
The Epoch Times reported exclusively on Tuesday that in recent days the Chinese government has been reporting fewer outbreaks around the country, which makes it seem as though Beijing has gotten a handle on things and has managed to slow the outbreak.
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But, as the Times notes, the media outlet”obtained a copy of a Feb. 23 document sent from the Chaoyang city health commission to its provincial counterpart, the Liaoning health commission.
“The city is located in the country’s northeastern region, thousands of miles away from the virus epicenter in Hubei,” the outlet reports further. “In compliance with the provincial health commission’s instructions, the city has inquired and checked within its government departments and agencies that previously received ‘documents and data’ related to the outbreak, and have duly destroyed them, the document stated.
Mind you, this comes after the intrepid media outlet has already uncovered evidence that Chinese officials in the coastal province of Shandong were intentionally under-reporting cases of coronavirus illnesses and deaths. The new info also comes after the Times that in Hubei province, where the outbreak is most severe, eyewitnesses reported that overflowing medical centers were simply unable to adequately test all patients suspected of having the virus, and thus were ordering them to self-quarantine at home.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Asia, the outbreak of coronavirus in South Korea, which has much better internal medical and health system support, is exploding, as Al Jazeera reported earlier today:
In the space of a couple of weeks, South Korea has gone from dealing with a few cases of coronavirus to thousands and now finds itself in the throes of an outbreak that has become the largest outside China.
It is a story that is slowly clarifying: A single “super-spreader” known as “patient 31” - a member of a fringe church called Shincheonji - is thought to have caused the rapid rise in cases. Now, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has filed a formal complaint against the congregation, accusing it of murder.
At least 29 people have died in the outbreak and more than 4,800 people formally diagnosed with the virus as of March 3.
CNN, which is live-updating its coronavirus reporting, said that the number of cases in South Korea has actually topped 5,100. And, according to The New York Times, at least on U.S. soldier stationed in the country has contracted the virus.
As for the Chinese government requiring minions to destroy all information related to the outbreak, The Epoch Times notes further that medical staffers “who had access to the data were also required to sign a ‘letter of commitment,’ which stipulated that officials promise to delete relevant documents from their laptops, computers, smartphones, external drive, and so on.”
China is anything but transparent when it comes to reporting such incidents, so Beijing’s officials coronavirus figures should always be taken with reports like this one in mind.
As for the United States, the virus is spreading but nothing like it is elsewhere. The NY Times reports that, as of this writing, slightly more than 100 people have been diagnosed with the illness — and remember, 44 of those came from that cruise ship off the coast of Japan.
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