Beijing: Chinese virologist Yan Li-Meng accused the Chinese government of covering up information related to the coronavirus that could damage its international image despite knowing it since December.
In an interview with 'Fox News', the former University of Hong Kong researcher said she believed the Chinese authorities knew about the deadly virus well before it was made public.
Yan, who previously worked at the university's World Health Organization (WHO) reference lab, also said her supervisors had ignored her research on human-to-human transmission at the start of the pandemic, which could potentially have saved many lives.
Currently in hiding at an undisclosed location, Yan said she fled Hong Kong for the U.S on a Cathay Pacific flight on April 28.
Fearing that she would be "disappeared and killed" if she shared her findings in Hong Kong, Yan said she had come to the U.S to "deliver the message of the truth of COVID-19 to the world."
Yan pointed out that several Chinese scientists had tried to warn the public about the virus when the outbreak started but later changed their tune and warned others not to pursue the matter. She added that medical workers in China were prohibited from discussing the virus but were asked to wear masks.
The virologist said that she first became aware of the human-to-human transmission capability of COVID-19 in late December when a scientist at China's Center for Disease Control (CDC) shared data with her. However, when she presented her findings to her supervisors on January 16, she was warned not to "touch the red line" and to be careful about her comments.
Asianet.in/ Desk: Asianet Online