“Some US officials just want to shift the blame,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a briefing Thursday in Beijing, Bloomberg News reported.
“Actually we don’t want to fall into an argument with them, but faced with such repeated moral slander by them, I feel compelled to take some time and clarify the truth again.”
She questioned why the US took so long to respond after the Trump administration banned arrivals from China on Feb. 2.
“Can anyone tell us what the U.S. has done in the following two months?” Hua said.
China reported its first case of coronavirus in December in the city of Wuhan.
Hua was responding to a report in Bloomberg that US intelligence agencies, in a classified report for the White House, said Beijing intentionally underreported the number of total cases and deaths from the coronavirus.
Since the beginning of the outbreak, China publicly reported about 82,000 cases and 3,300 deaths, compared to the more than 216,000 cases and more than 5,000 deaths in the US.
President Trump at Wednesday’s White House task force briefing said he had received the intelligence report and expressed doubts about the numbers China reported.
“Their numbers seem to be a little bit on the light side, and I’m being nice when I say that,” he said.
Vice President Mike Pence, who’s heading up the task force, said the US would have been better prepared to respond if China had been “more forthcoming.”
“What appears evident now is that long before the world learned in December that China was dealing with this, and maybe as much as a month earlier than that, that the outbreak was real in China,” he said on CNN Wednesday.
China’s National Health Commission acknowledged on Wednesday that it had not been including patients without symptoms in its overall coronavirus infection count and would begin to do so.
Beijing updated its data Wednesday to include 1,367 asymptomatic cases; of those, 130 were reported in the last day, Fortune reported.