China muzzled scientist who unlocked genetic make-up of virus within days of outbreak

Wang said the National Health Commission ‘unequivocally requires that any tests, clinical data, test results, conclusions related to the epidemic shall not be posted on social media platforms, nor shall [it] be disclosed to any media outlets including government official media, nor shall [it] be disclosed to partner institutions.’

Eight days later, a team led by a professor in Shanghai who received samples from an infected patient, published a genome sequence on an open access platform.

His laboratory was closed for ‘rectification’ two days later.

At the time, the public was being told that no new cases had been reported in Wuhan for more than a week and there was no clear evidence of human transmission, although dozens of health workers were starting to fall ill with the disease.