The U.S. Ambassador to the Britain, Woody Johnson, has blamed China for the spread of the coronavirus, saying it ‘tried to suppress’ the emergence of the bug and accusing the Chinese government of seeking to “stonewall international health authorities that were offering assistance, requesting access and seeking more information”.

“[T]he People’s Republic of China has been .. spreading false accusations about the origin and spread of the coronavirus,” he wrote in a hard-hitting piece in The Times, Thursday.

Johnson wrote that the “The facts about Covid-19 are undisputed. The outbreak originated in the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province. The government of China knew there was a new Sars-like virus in December. For a country that aspires to a global leadership role, China’s obligations to the international community were obvious — transparently share what it knew about the virus with world health officials and co-ordinate quickly with world governments to stop this highly contagious disease before it became a pandemic. ”

“Had China done the right things at the right time, more of its own population, and the rest of the world, might have been spared the most serious impact of this disease,” he asserted. “When the crisis finally abates we should take stock of the outcome and evaluate the costs of this breakdown in international collaboration.”

The US Ambassador said that the imperative was now on the global community to work together to save lives and protect the world’s economy, and that the international community was not interested in the “Chinese government’s efforts to shift blame.”

China has hit out in recent weeks, with Chinese officials and state media, including Lijian Zhao, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, strongly pushing the idea that COVID-19 could have originated in the U.S.

While President Trump was criticised for referring to COVID-19 as the “China virus” publicly, he has retaliated that he was just pointing to where the virus started.