Boris Johnson’s government is reportedly furious with China and believes it could have 40 times more coronavirus cases than it claims.
It has accused China of spreading disinformation and lying about the number of cases it has.
Scientists have reportedly warned Johnson that China could have up to 40 times more cases than it has reported hence, authorities could prompt the prime minister to abandon his deal with Chinese telecomms company, Huawei.
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UK government officials believe China is spreading disinformation about the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in its country, the Mail on Sunday reports.
The newspaper says scientists have warned Johnson that China could have downplayed its number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus “by a factor of 15 to 40 times.” China had reported 81,439 cases at the time of writing.
Officials also believe China is trying to expand its economic power through offering help to other countries which are trying to combat the virus.
Johnson angered his main ally President Donald Trump by giving Huawei a limited but significant role in improving the country’s infrastructure.
The Trump administration was angered by the decision, with the president himself reportedly expressing his disapproval before hanging up in an “apoplectic” phone call with Johnson last month.
The prime minister earlier this week introduced a lockdown, telling people to only leave their homes for essential reasons and giving UK police the power to fine those who do not comply.