Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
With nearly 800,000 coronavirus cases worldwide, intelligence agencies in the U.S. are having difficulties determining the outbreak situation in countries such as China, Russia, and North Korea, government sources told Reuters.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo previously suggested there might be a lack of accurate information on Russia and Iran. He also accused China of a disinformation campaign amid an absence of new cases, which Beijing denies.
An understanding of the COVID-19 outbreak in those countries could help the U.S. and international efforts to limit the impact of COVID-19.
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, women wearing protective masks to prevent the new coronavirus outbreak walk on a re-opened commercial street in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province on Monday. (Shen Bohan/Xinhua via AP)
“We’ve asked every country to step up and tell us what they know so that the world can learn,” Pompeo said. “America will then turn around, we will share the information we get and we’ll keep people safe, not only here in the United States, but all across the world.”
The three countries, including Iran, are known for having heavy state controls on information, and it’s usually tough to get intel from their closed-off leadership circles, per Reuters.
In regards to no new domestic cases in China, a source told the news organization that “some of it may be true,” although agencies remain wary the country has the virus under control.
“We want to have as close an accurate, real-time understanding of where the global hotspots are and where they are evolving,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, who led the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance from 2013 to 2017 and the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak, according to Reuters. “The world is not going to get rid of this thing until we get rid of it everywhere.”
Meanwhile, North Korea has yet to report a single case of the virus, despite sharing a border with China, while cases in Russia have jumped nearly fivefold over the past week — from 436 to 1836, according to the Moscow Times.
Russia also shares a border with 14 other countries — which it said would close on March 30 — so determining the virus’s spread could be important for those surrounding the country.
In the U.S., all 50 states plus the District of Columbia have reported confirmed cases of COVID-19, tallying over 164,610 illnesses and at least 3,170 deaths.
Fox News’ Victor Garcia contributed to this report