NEWS & ANALYSIS

Wuhan Lab Director Ordered Staff to Hush Up on COVID-19, Per State Department Cable


In January of 2020, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology ordered staff to “not discuss COVID-19,” according to a blog post cited in a State Department cable obtained by U.S. Right to Know. 

Secrets secrets are no fun unless you share with everyone. 

The cable, which states the blogger’s post “has since been blocked on social media,” adds to reports that the Chinese government ordered silence on all information pertaining to COVID-19. 

The cable was just one of several records released in response to a U.S. Right to Know Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. 

As reported by U.S. Right to Know, other items in the records include the following. 

A February 2020 cable reported that the U.S. Consulate’s South China Public Affairs Section “media contacts discussed the rumors circulating on social media that a graduate of the Wuhan Institute of Virology is patient zero of COVID-19, which has been denied by the institute.” 

A March 2020 cable showed that the Chinese government has not yet conducted a Joint External Evaluation, which is a voluntary peer-review process administered by the WHO to help countries “determine their gaps and weaknesses in preparing for and responding to infectious disease risk.” 

A March 2020 cable analyzed the Chinese government and affiliated media’s messaging on COVID-19.