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China is costing lives and hindering the fight against coronavirus with lies, say MPs

CHINA 'LIES'

LIES about coronavirus by China are costing lives and hindering the fight against the disease, MPs have said.

The Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said China should have had a central role in collecting data on spread after the outbreak.

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But it added that Beijing had sought to “obfuscate” over what was really happening right from the outset.

It also named Iran and Russia as being responsible for disseminating false information about the virus.

Committee chairman Tom Tugendhat said Beijing had initially "allowed disinformation to spread as quickly as the virus".

He added: "Rather than helping other countries prepare a swift and strong response, it is increasingly apparent that they manipulated vital information about the virus in order to protect the regime's image.

"The Government needs to tackle these lies with a clear and quick response, working with our allies to show a united front in the face of false facts and deadly disinformation."

The committee also criticised the lack of international co-ordination in the effort to combat the disease and stop its spread.

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It called for the creation of a "G20 for public health" to enable co-operation between expert researchers around the world to flourish, even in the absence of united political leadership.

"It is clear that existing regional and multilateral organisations, including the WHO, are not achieving the international co-operation needed to fight a global pandemic," it said.

"Although the Government is focused rightly on resolving the current crisis, it would be a catastrophic error to de-prioritise learning lessons from this pandemic and implementing them before the next one."

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