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Is China telling the truth about ‘devil coronavirus?’

/ 04:03 AM February 04, 2020

I am beginning to seriously doubt the daily updates on novel coronavirus (also known as 2019-nCoV) cases being given by China’s National Health Commission. The numbers just don’t seem to tally.

The findings of a medical team from the prestigious University of Hong Kong, published in The Lancet medical journal, say that China has not been totally honest in reporting the true situation.

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Contrary to the official Chinese report of 17,205 confirmed cases, the medical team led by professor Gabriel Leung estimated that as of Jan. 25, there were 75,815 infected individuals in Wuhan City alone. Based on studies, an epidemic doubles in size every 6.4 days. Of course, multiple factors can delay this like confirmation and data recording, but this is such a big discrepancy. Already, multiple major Chinese cities are becoming potential “outbreak epicenters.”

The study also clarified that the Wuhan seafood market was not the origin of the outbreak since there was no link between it and the first patient, as well as 13 out of 41 2019-nCoV cases. “The first human infections must have occurred in November 2019, if not earlier,” it said.

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China has refused the assistance of US epidemic experts and the World Health Organization in its fight against what it calls “devil coronavirus.” This indifference makes global health experts, including Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, in doubt of its figures.

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President Duterte and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III have announced that Customs Commissioner Reynaldo “Jagger” Guerrero will not be replaced. The bureau has missed its 2019 target of P677 billion by P40 billion.

The processing of papers by some “politicized” customs officers has become slower because of renewed rumors that a motorcycle buddy from Davao will soon be taking over. My assets say Chinese-Filipino businessmen in Manila are being approached by people close to this “ambassador” to prepare for his appointment.

His close in officer is announcing that he is a “sure-shot” appointee to a government agency in charge of telecom —an indication of the tandem’s strong links to Malacañang.

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If the President is dead serious in eradicating corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and at the same time stopping the entry of illegal goods like drugs, he should hire international preshipment companies and allow them to supervise customs operations.

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Either allow the return of Societe Generale de Surveillance or its competitors, Bureau Veritas, Intertek or Applus services.All incoming container ships should be preinspected at their point of origin. This way, hidden cargo or illegal goods will be checked and certified before they arrive at our ports.

Global Financial Integrity estimates that smuggling losses in the Philippines reached $28.5 billion in 2011, further increasing yearly through “underreporting,” tax evasion and corrupt customs officials, among others.

With preshipment inspections, every incoming ship must declare the correct value of its cargo. Smugglers avoiding our ports risk being apprehended by our modernized Coast Guard and Philippine Navy fleet.

But again, is the President really serious against corruption at the BOC?

Honestly, I don’t believe he is. That goes too for Dominguez.

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TAGS: Bureau of Customs, Jake J. Maderazo, NcoV, novel coronavirus, Rodrigo Duterte, Sharp Edges
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