WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that the U.S. response to the coronavirus outbreak had been hindered by what he called imperfect data from China, adding that it had been frustrating getting information from the ruling Communist Party.
“The information that we got at the front end of this thing wasn’t perfect and has led us now to a place where much of the challenge we face today has put us behind the curve,” Pompeo told CNBC in an interview.
“It has proven incredibly frustrating to work with the Chinese Communist Party to get our hands around the data set,” he said. However, he added that he “was happy about the efforts” that Beijing has taken to stem the outbreak that grew from the epicentre of the city of Wuhan.
“The dataset out of China has been imperfect,” Pompeo said in a separate interview earlier on Fox News.
Coronavirus infections have spread in the United States as the number of cases neared 100,000 worldwide.
China, meanwhile, has turned its attention to potential infections arriving from overseas as new cases there have dwindled.
Pompeo added that he was confident that the United States could handle the coronavirus. “We’ve got to get it right,” he told CNBC.
Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Frances Kerry