13:33 10.09.2020

Daughter of first 'Brit to die of coronavirus outside China' blasts 'cover-up'

Source: The Mirror
Daughter of first 'Brit to die of coronavirus outside China' blasts 'cover-up'

Peter Attwood, from Chatham, Kent, began suffering a dry cough on December 28, days before China alerted the World Health Organisation about a "viral pneumonia" in 30 patients in Wuhan.

The 84-year-old's daughter Jane Buckland, who fell ill two weeks earlier, said it suggests the virus has "been around for much longer than we know", and it could have been spreading in the UK as early as November.

She has attacked Chinese officials, saying her dad and many other people who contracted the virus could still be alive if Beijing "hadn't lied to the rest of the world".

Mr Attwood died in hospital on January 30, a day before the UK's first cases of the virus were confirmed.

While heart failure and pneumonia were initially blamed for his death, the Kent coroner has now confirmed he was found to have had the coronavirus in his lung tissue and has listed his cause of death as Covid-19.

It sent a letter to Ms Muckland,dated August 27, confirming the cause of death.

This is believed to make Mr Attwood the first known death from coronavirus outside China, coming just 19 days after the first reported casualty from the disease in the city where it is believed to have originated, Wuhan.

he first coronavirus death in the UK was previously thought to have occurred on March 5.

Ms Buckland told the Sun: "If China hadn't lied to the rest of the world and kept this hidden for so long, it could have saved countless lives.

"Covid has obviously been around for much longer than we know. People have been talking about a cover-up but we don't know the scale of it.

"My father could still be here if we'd known about the threat of this horrible virus earlier."

Ms Buckland, 46, who works as a full-time carer, said she also feared she had infected her father with Covid-19, since she had suffered symptoms including a fever and a dry cough prior to Christmas, when "no-one knew what (Covid-19) was".

She said her elderly father had an underlying heart condition, and so would have been shielding if the nature of the disease had have been known at that time.

Ms Buckland said her daughter Megan, 18, had also come down with a cough and fever on January 10.

China has repeatedly been accused of hiding the severity of the outbreak from the rest of the world and finally sharing some information when it was already too late.

It is also accused of silencing doctors who used social media to warn Wuhan residents about a mystery illness as the number of patients soared in December and sufferers did not respond to usual treatment for peneumonia.

Later, China is said to have muzzled researchers who identified the illness as a new strain of coronavirus days before Beijing informed the rest of the world.

On December 30, two days after Mr Attwood came down with symptoms, mysterious patient samples were sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for testing.

Wuhan's Center for Disease Control and Prevention had detected a new coronavirus in two patients and asked the lab's experts, including Shi Zhengli, known as "bat woman" for her research into coronaviruses.

The virus was similar to the one that caused Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which killed almost 800 people in 2002 and 2003.

The next day, on December 31, reports emerged from China saying almost 30 patients in Wuhan were suffering from a mystery illness, sparking fears of a repeat of the 2003 Sars epidemic.

Many had worked at or visited a wet market, which was shut down on January 1.

By January 7, researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology confirmed the new strain of coronavirus, known as Sars-Cov-2, had caused the illness.

But Chinese state media didn't announce until January 11 that preliminary lab tests pointed to a new type of coronavirus.

It was the same day a 61-year-old man in Wuhan was reported as the first death.

Within days, infections were reported around the world.

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith told the Sun the confirmation of Mr Attwood's cause of death proved China "knew all about human to human transfer" of the disease long before it was made public.

He also criticised the World Health Organisation, saying they "failed to press China back in November and December" when it was clear the country had "at least an epidemic on their hands".

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