Beijing: Government of People’s Republic of China (PRC) has reportedly warned Wuhan based doctors who were the first to respond to the novel coronavirus outbreak last December, that they could be charged with espionage if they revealed what went on during the period, said local sources on Wednesday.
Kyodo news agency quoted sources which did not wish to be identified saying that medical workers in the central Chinese city, where the virus was first detected, have been urged not to speak at all about the situation at that time.
Communist leadership of China has been accused of initially trying to cover up the outbreak and deliberately allowing the virus to spread to other parts of the world.
The Chinese government may be attempting to prevent an external investigation into the origins of the virus, raising concerns that the enquiry into the origin of the virus would be hindered.
The report by Kyodo added that the gag order on workers may have been issued around August, when the Chinese leadership started to congratulate itself for successfully curbing infections in the country.
Anyone arrested on charges of espionage also faces the prospect of a death penalty in China.
The novel coronavirus outbreak began in December 2019 in Wuhan, since then it has spread across the globe, infecting around 60 million people and killing more than 1.4 million so far, as per the latest tally by Johns Hopkins University.