Gao Fu, head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), answers questions at a press conference on the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak held by the State Council Information Office, in Beijing, capital of China, on Jan 26, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
Multiple Chinese media outlets published, now deleted, misleading reports about Gao Fu, head of China's Centers for Disease Control (CCDC), claiming he is under investigation by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China.
No reports of any investigation against the CDC official were posted on the official website of the National Supervisory Commission and the CCDI, as of press time.
Several Chinese media outlets at provincial or city levels, including the Guangzhou Daily, Heilongjiang TV, and Guizhou News FM94.6, on Saturday morning, posted the fake news on China's Twitter-like social media platform Sina Weibo or published it on their official website, and soon deleted the post.
In particular, Guizhou News FM94.6, a broadcaster under the Guizhou Radio TV Station backed by Southwest China's Guizhou provincial government, posted a corrigendum on Weibo around 2 pm, admitting the news about Gao was a rumor.
Gao is also one of the experts that went to Wuhan to investigate the virus at the early stage of the outbreak.
Gao suggested that the virus did not show any sign of human-to-human transmission; however, he claimed the contrary in research papers published in the New England Journal of Medicine, stating there was a case of human-to-human transmission in mid-December, according to media reports.
This issue has brought massive controversy among the society of China.
"That is a retrospective analysis, we don't know what the disease was in mid-December," Gao was quoted as saying in local media reports, in response to the online debate. He said the public confused the research paper with clinical diagnoses.
Later on Saturday, Gao appeared in an interview with the China Science Daily, which said Gao "is now receiving World Health Organization experts from all over the world that came to China." Gao was briefing the virus prevention and control work to the WHO experts, the report said.