A Chinese doctor, who diagnosed early coronavirus cases in China, has accused the local authorities of a cover-up of the initial scale of the outbreak at the epicentre Wuhan, saying the evidence was already destroyed when they went for investigation, according to a media report.
Speaking to the BBC, Professor Kwok-Yung Yuen, a microbiologist, physician and surgeon in Hong Kong, who helped to investigate the COVID-19 outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, said the physical evidence at the Huanan wildlife market was destroyed and the response to clinical findings was slow.
"When we went to the Huanan supermarket, of course, there was nothing to see because the market was clean already. So, you may say that the crime scene is already disturbed because the supermarket was cleared. We cannot identify any host which is giving the virus to humans," Yuen was quoted as saying.
"I do suspect that they have been doing some cover-up locally at Wuhan. The local officials who are supposed to immediately relay the information have not allowed this to be done as readily as it should," he said in the report.
The coronavirus originated from the Huanan wildlife market in Wuhan in December last year and has globally infected over 16 million people and claimed the lives of more than 648,000 people and bringing the world economy to a standstill.
According to the Johns Hopkins data, China has recorded 86,570 COVID-19 cases and 4,652 deaths.
Several countries, including the US, have criticised China for not divulging information about the severity of the disease. However, China has denied the accusations of withholding information.
It is also accused of reprimanding Dr Li Wenliang and other whistleblowers in Wuhan who tried to warn medics about the deadly virus.
Li, who was the first to report about the virus in December last year, contracted the disease and died in February.