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Speaking to BBC’s Carrie Gracie for the latest Panorama programme on the coronavirus pandemic, the Professor said there may have been a “possible cover-up” by Wuhan’s officials on the initial number of infections spreading in China. The Chinese Professor, who was one of the first to alert the authorities that he believed the virus could spread from people to people, claimed that when he enquired about the seafood wet market suspected of being the source of COVID-19, the area had been cleaned before taking scientific evidence.
He said: “When we went to the Wuhan seafood market, of course there was nothing to see because the market was cleaned already.
“So you may say that the crime scene was already disturbed because the seafood market was cleared we cannot identify the animal host which is giving the virus to humans.”
The Professor told BBC Panorama he was worried about Wuhan’s slow admission to a rising number of cases in the region, especially among medical staff, suspecting a cover-up.
He said: “I do suspect that they have been doing some cover-up locally in Wuhan.
“The local officials who are supposed to immediately relate information have not allowed this to be done as rapidly as it should have.”
China has repeatedly denied all allegations of cover-ups in the development of the coronavirus epidemic that spread across the globe.
Now Asia is battling a second wave of the pandemic and countries are clamping down again to try to contain the disease, with Australia recording a record daily rise in cases and Vietnam locking down the city of Danang.
In China, infections not involving people returning from overseas hit the highest number since early March, with a total of 57 domestic transmissions reported out of 61 new cases.
In the northeast, Liaoning province reported a fifth straight day of new infections and Jilin province reported two new cases, its first since late May.
Hong Kong is expected to announce further restrictions on Monday including a ban on restaurant dining and mandated face masks outdoors, local media reported.
The measures, which are expected to take effect from Wednesday, would be the first time the city has completely banned dining in restaurants. Since late January, more than 2,600 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 19 of whom have died.
Australian authorities warned a six-week lockdown in parts of southeastern Victoria state may last longer after the country registered its highest daily increase in infections.
Most of Australia is effectively virus-free but flare-ups in the two most populous southeastern states have authorities scrambling to prevent a wider national outbreak.
Victoria reported a daily record of 532 new cases on Monday and six more deaths, taking the state toll to 77, almost half the total national death toll.
In Japan, the government said it would urge businesses to increase telecommuting and enhance other social distancing measures amid a rise in coronavirus cases among workers.
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Japan has avoided mass infections but a record surge in cases during the past week in Tokyo and other urban centres has experts worried the country faces a second wave.
Tokyo last week reported a daily record of 366 cases, with 239 on Sunday. The southern city of Fukuoka reported a record 90 cases on Sunday, along with rising numbers in Osaka.
Vietnam is evacuating 80,000 people, mostly local tourists, from the central city of Danang after three residents tested positive for the coronavirus at the weekend, the government said on Monday.
The Southeast Asian country is back on high alert after the government on Saturday confirmed its first community infections since April, and another three cases on Sunday, all in Danang.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to focus on COVID-19 and the economy in his annual State of the Nation Address later on Monday, amid a renewed coronavirus outbreak.
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