While China continues to face international hostility for delaying the announcement of the pandemic, there’s another murky accusation being hurled at the Asian superpower. A recent finding by the Central Intelligence Agency suggests that China went to great lengths to stop the WHO from warning the world of the severity of the pandemic when the outbreak began spiraling out of control in January.

The content of the report was confirmed accurately by two intelligence officials, who also revealed that China threatened to sever ties with the Health body -- which included stopping to co-operate in the detailed investigation of the coronavirus outbreak. This allegation stands second in line, in terms of the number of reports that hinted at foul play from China’s end.

Last week, a German intelligence published by Der Spiegel assessment emerged and accused Chinese President Xi Jinping of misusing his political dominion on WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on January 21. While the health organization blatantly refused Xi’s involvement, the agency was very ambiguous in its approach.

“We don't comment on specific discussions with member states but we can say that at all times during the pandemic WHO has acted in accordance with its mandate as an evidence-based technical organization focusing on protecting all people, everywhere," said WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier. “WHO bases its recommendations on science, public health best practices, evidence, data, and the advice of independent experts. Dr. Tedros did not communicate with President Xi on Jan 20, 21 or 22. Dr. Tedros and his senior team met with President Xi in Beijing on Jan. 28. The issue of PHEIC did not come up in that meeting,” Linmeier added.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry and the central intelligence agency are yet to comment on the controversial allegations.

While a further probe into this angle is underway, the news is sure to heighten the animosity between the United States and China. U.S. President Donald Trump has time and again slammed China for its handling of the outbreak. On Friday, May 8, Trump decreed that a plan was on the cards. "What World Health got away with is unbelievable. They're a pipe organ for China, so I'm going to make a decision very soon," Trump told Republican lawmakers on Friday about the future of the U.S. relationship with the WHO.

The global health crisis has claimed over 297,000 lives globally and is perceived as a strong blow to the world economy. Precautionary measures such as government-ordered lockdown, work from home orders, and temporary shutting of businesses has led to job losses. The U.S. stands as one of the hardest-hit countries in the pandemic.

Times Square, New York during coronavirus A view of Times Square during the coronavirus pandemic on April 23, 2020 in New York City. COVID-19 has spread to most countries around the world, claiming over 190,000 lives lost with over 2.7 million infections reported. Noam Galai/Getty Images