Yesterday, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster implied, live on the Andrew Marr Show, that Chinese coverage of the coronavirus outbreak has led to Britain’s slower rate of testing.
Gove claimed that: “some of the reporting from China was not clear about the scale, nature and infectiousness” of the pandemic, in what is a significant blow to Sino-British relations.
In his coronavirus briefing today the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, also indicated that China would experience
According to The Daily Telegraph, senior government sources joined Michael Gove in criticising Beijing, with claims that China’s decision to spread “lies” would invariably lead to Xi Jingping’s nation facing a “reckoning” once the pandemic is over.
Beijing have also faced pressure from the White House with President Trump repeatedly referring to Covid-19 as the “Chinese virus”.
The UK and US may not be alone in exerting pressure on China after coronavirus with governments of European Union nations’ introducing measures to prevent the use of Chinese-made medical equipment.
Last weekend, Amsterdam’s health ministry announced it recalled around 600,000 Chinese-made face masks that had arrived in The Netherlands on the 21st of March.
Spain also witnessed issues with goods from China. Madrid had purchased Chinese test kits, however, at least 60,000 of them which failed to accurately determine whether a patient had contracted coronavirus.
These claims come just days after former party leader, Iain Duncan Smith, criticised George Osborne’s creation of a “golden age” between the two nations.
He used his column in The Mail on Sunday to question the direction of Project Kow-Tow, citing the UK’s growing trade deficit, China’s human rights violations and the introduction of Huawei’s 5G network across Britain, as key concerns exacerbated by the coronavirus.
Earlier this month, Iain Duncan Smith was joined by thirty-seven other Tory backbenchers in opposing the government’s support for Huawei. However, their numbers may bolster as the government begins to adopt a hawkish foreign policy.
It is not only the Eurosceptic wing on the Tory party that have expressed concerns over Anglo-Chinese relations with former lieutenant colonel, Tom Tugendhat, claiming Britain could “not import cheap goods and not import the consequences of slave labour, of silencing opposition and government repression, including of the truth about pandemic outbreaks”.
Michael Gove also used his interview on The Andrew Marr Show to answer concerns over the government’s decision not to participate in the European Union’s extra ventilator scheme.
Whilst a spokesman from Number 10 claimed that the UK did not receive an invitation to join the programme, the former head of the Vote Leave campaign insisted that the government’s decision to opt out of the programme will not inhibit British access to ventilators.
He told Andrew Marr that that there was “nothing that we can’t do as an independent nation that being part of the scheme would allow us to do”.
The government have also called upon private sector companies, including Dyson and McLaren, to produce 10,000 ventilators in an effort to increase the numbers needed to protect those experiencing respiratory difficulties.
The Prime Minister’s plea to formula one companies has seen Mercedes work with University College London in increasing the production of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure devices. These devices deliver oxygen to the lungs without the need of a ventilator.