Prime Minister Justin Trudeau evaded questions about whether China had concealed the extent of the COVID-19 epidemic after the country revised the death toll by 50 percent in Wuhan, the city where the outbreak first emerged.
The prime minister was pressed by reporters Friday about holding the Communist Party of China accountable amid criticism it hadn’t been fully transparent in the early stages of the viral outbreak and provided incomplete data to the World Health Organization.
READ MORE: Why is the World Health Organization accused of mishandling the coronavirus pandemic?
Trudeau said his job right now is to make sure Canadians get the best “support” and “protection” as COVID-19 has devastated Canada’s economy and sickened over 30,000.
“That means ensuring that cooperation and collaboration on the international stage is done properly,” Trudeau said. “That means focusing right now on today and tomorrow.”
“There will be plenty of time to point fingers, to ask questions, to draw conclusion and ensure there are consequences for what countries may have done during this pandemic.”
China has faced criticism from world leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron, over its handling of the outbreak.
Trump has been China’s most vocal critic, and earlier this week announced his administration was temporarily halting funding to the WHO for taking China’s claims about the coronavirus “at face value,” and failing to share information about the pandemic as it spread.
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Health experts around the world condemned Trump’s decision and G7 leaders backed the WHO in a virtual summit this week.
On Friday, China announced the addition of 1,290 victims had died from COVID-19 in Wuhan bringing the death toll to 3,869 in city where the illness began.
State media attributed the initial undercount to how overwhelmed the health system was coping with thousands of sick patients, the Associated Press reported.