The US cable news channel CNN recently published a report on the COVID-19 pandemic, in which it pointed to what it labeled as China's missteps in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic when it first emerged.
CNN said in the report that Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization about a cluster of pneumonia cases on Dec 31, 2019, but China did not specify how many were sick, "or what kind of virus it might be."
Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, noted that China reported information to the World Health Organization regarding the outbreak and shared the gene sequences of the novel coronavirus with other countries in a timely manner.
China has always been open, transparent and responsible in responding to COVID-19, and Chinese authorities have promptly released relevant information, shared the anti-pandemic experience and promoted international cooperation, he said.
Experts said the Chinese health system first identified pneumonia cases of unknown origin in the early stage of the pandemic and raised the alarm. Like anything new and unknown in medicine, its secrets needed to be unlocked and revealed through scientific research.
The health authority of Wuhan, Hubei province, reported the pneumonia cases of unknown cause late December 2019, and the National Health Commission soon sent a working group and an expert team to Wuhan to guide epidemic response and conduct on-site investigations.
Except for informing the WHO, China has since Jan 3, 2020 been informing relevant countries and regions about the pneumonia outbreak and response measures on a regular basis.
A Chinese team of experts initially identified novel coronavirus as the cause of the viral pneumonia in Wuhan on Jan 9, then China informed the WHO of the findings and also shared the information with other countries immediately.
China also submitted to the WHO the genome sequence of the novel coronavirus on Jan 12, which was published by the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data and shared globally.
From Jan 20 to 21, a WHO delegation conducted a field visit to Wuhan. On Feb 16, a China-WHO joint expert team with 25 experts, including two from the US, started a nine-day field visit in China and inspected Beijing, Sichuan, Guangdong and Hubei.
The joint team said on Feb 24 that China's unprecedented public health responses to the novel coronavirus outbreak have yielded notable results in blocking human-to-human transmission of the virus, preventing or at least delaying hundreds of thousands of cases.
China has also played a crucial role in protecting the international community, buying precious time for countries to adopt active prevention and control measures and providing them with worthwhile experience, the 25-member team said.
Those experts have noted that the novel coronavirus was a new pathogen and more information was needed to better understand the transmission and severity of the disease it caused.