Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has criticized China for not permitting American scientists to visit the country and trace the root of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

According to Pompeo, China is not authorizing the "transparency and openness we need" regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic, which was first detected in the central city of Wuhan in China and has now spread globally.

Hong Kong researchers surmised that the tally of confirmed cases could be four times higher than the figure Beijing reported earlier.

"Even today, the Chinese government hasn't permitted American scientists to go into China, to go into not only the Wuhan lab or wherever it needs to go to learn about this virus, to learn about its origins," Pompeo stated in an interview on Wednesday.

Pompeo has been one the most vocal critics of China over the coronavirus pandemic, reiterating President Donald Trump's jabs on Beijing and peddling a conspiracy theory alluding the coronavirus may have created in a scientific research lab in Wuhan. There is no evidence yet to reinforce the theory, but this has not stopped Pompeo and Trump from suggesting it.

Pompeo added, "Look, we know it began at one [lab], but we need to figure this out. There's an ongoing pandemic. We still don't have the transparency and openness we need in China."

Pompeo also reiterated his disapproval of the World Health Organization (WHO) for its incompetence in ensuring the Chinese Communist Party declared accurate numbers so that countries across the globe could have taken the necessary measures when the outbreak was in its early stages.

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Pompeo said China has not allowed U.S. scientists to probe into not only the Wuhan lab but in any place necessary to learn about the virus and its origins.

He did not detail appeals by American scientists to fly to China.

Pompeo said the WHO needs to be held accountable for their lack of transparency. "It is the World Health Organization's responsibility to achieve that transparency. They're not doing it. They need to be held accountable."

Local officials in the Chinese city of Wuhan and the central government in Beijing have been denounced of repressing early reports of the pandemic and neglecting to inform the WHO and other countries about the seriousness and scale of the threat of the virus. Beijing also has allegedly underreported the total of fatalities from the coronavirus.

Pompeo said it is good to see other nations beginning to be aware of the WHO's shortcomings as well.

Last week, President Trump declared that he would block payments to the United Nations agency until an assessment could examine the WHO's response to China and how it communicated the coronavirus pandemic to the world.

China has shrugged off American criticism as an attempt to deviate attention from Trump's bungling of the outbreak. The U.S. president's communication of the virus has been confusing and contradictory and he has constantly clashed with scientific experts and governors.

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