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Mike Pompeo says China still isn’t cooperating with US on COVID-19 months later

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So what's actually happening here?

Photo by Stringer/Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this week that China, months after the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, still isn't being transparent about the disease and refuses to cooperate with the United States.

What are the details?

In a Thursday interview with Larry O'Connor on WMAL-FM, Pompeo condemned the communist country and revealed that it was not cooperating with the U.S. in its attempts to tamp down the spread of COVID-19.

Pompeo said that Beijing is still refusing to hand over a sample of the virus, which was first detected in Wuhan.

"Can you confirm this report that there was a scientific diplomatic investigation of a laboratory there that raised some red flags about their protocols and concerns up to two years ago?" O'Connor asked.

Pompeo answered by saying that there's a variety of scientific labs across China and pointed out that the U.S. has been "concerned that they didn't have the skill set, the capabilities, the processes, and the protocols that were adequate to protect the world from potential escape."

"[W]e have high expectations for those facilities we have here in the United States," Pompeo said. "We hold ourselves to very high standards. We have expectations that the World Health Organization and other global health institutions will ensure that other countries have those same standards, because as you can see, when a virus escapes into the wild, it can have global implications that extend far beyond any one country's boundary."

O'Connor pointed out that it's been well-documented that the U.S. State Department began issuing alerts in January.

"How soon were there official requests to the government of China for information about this virus, or, perhaps, a sample of the virus so that we could do research?" he asked.

Pompeo responded that "they were slow to identify this for anyone in the world, including the World Health Organization."

The WHO has been under fire for reportedly parroting China's claims and misinformations about the disease. The WHO also botched the initial response to the COVID-19 outbreak earlier in the year.

"Once the United States came to understand what was potentially taking place [in China], we immediately turned to both the World Health Organization and to the Chinese government directly, not just through the state department, but through our health and technical experts as well," Pompeo insisted.

"Frankly," he continued, "we are still trying to get an actual sample of the virus."

Pompeo said that there are still "many unanswered questions" that remain over how the COVID-19 pandemic began.

"This issue of transparency is important not only as historical matter to understand what happened back in November and December and January, but it's important even today," he added. "We still need transparency. ... This is still impacting lots of lives here in the United States and ... around the world."

Pompeo noted that President Donald Trump is "very focused on getting [the U.S.] economy back going," stressing the importance of having total transparency regarding the virus around the world.

Anything else?

Pompeo appeared on Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle" on Wednesday, where he made similar remarks.

"Even today, the Chinese government hasn't permitted American scientists to go into China, to go into not only the Wuhan lab or wherever it needs to go to learn about this virus, to learn about its origins," Pompeo said.

"Look, we know it began at one [lab], but we need to figure this out," he added. "There's an ongoing pandemic. We still don't have the transparency and openness we need in China."

He blasted the WHO in the same breath.

"It is the World Health Organization's responsibility to achieve that transparency. They're not doing it," he said. "They need to be held accountable. And what's been great is to see other countries around the world to begin to recognize the WHO failures as well."

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