US intelligence documents suggest U.S. officials believe China covered up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak to stock up on medical supplies needed to respond to it.

  • The four-page Department of Homeland Security report was dated May 1 and obtained by The Associated Press.
  • According to the report, Chinese leaders “intentionally concealed the severity” of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  • Intelligence officials found that China increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies during the early days of the outbreak.
  • The report also says China held off informing the World Health Organization that the coronavirus “was a contagion” for much of January so the country could order medical supplies from abroad. Imports of face masks, surgical gowns, and gloves increased sharply.
  • The report’s conclusions are “based on the 95% probability that China’s changes in import and export behavior were not within normal range”.
  • The agency is still looking into the theory that the virus may have escaped from a Chinese lab.