A foreign disinformation campaign aimed to sow fear in the United States over the novel coronavirus is currently underway, according to a new report.
Three unnamed U.S. officials told The Associated Press that they began confronting on March 15 what they called a “deliberate effort by a foreign entity” to ignite fears of a nationwide quarantine. Federal agencies, such as the National Security Council, addressed such claims on March 15, saying they were false.
“Text message rumors of a national #quarantine are FAKE,” the council stated on its official Twitter account on March 15. “There is no national lockdown. @CDCgovhas and will continue to post the latest guidance on #COVID19.”
The White House didnt immediately respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times. The U.S. officials didnt name the foreign entity they believe to be responsible, according to AP.
At a March 16 coronavirus task force press briefing, President Donald Trump acknowledged that there could be some “foreign groups that are playing games” but said it didnt matter as he wasnt implementing a nationwide lockdown.
The State Department recently summoned Chinas ambassador to the United States after a top Beijing official suggested that the U.S. military was responsible for introducing the deadly coronavirus to the Chinese city of Wuhan, ground zero of the pandemic.
A State Department spokesperson told The Epoch Times in a previous email that they have seen “how Beijings storyline on what has become a global pandemic has been shifting away from the Wuhan Huanan market since mid-January, indicating that Beijing is trying to avoid responsibility for the outbreak.”
The spokesperson was referring to a seafood and animal market in coronavirus epicenter Wuhan that Chinese officials initially cited as the potential source of the devastating outbreak.
“The US is not interested in assigning blame, but asks the Chinese government to offer full access and transparency in order to prevent further loss of lives inside and outside the PRC [Peoples Republic of China],” the spokesperson wrote.
Alyssa Farah, press secretary for the Department of Defense, said Chinas propaganda push on the origin of the virus was a ridiculous claim.
“As a global crisis, COVID-19 [should] be an area of cooperation between nations,” she wrote in a March 13 Twitter post. “Instead, the Communist Party of China has chosen to promulgate false & absurd conspiracy theories about the origin of COVID-19 blaming U.S. service members.”