Global Powers Shifting As Nations Turn Inward To Mitigate COVID-19; U.S. Accepts Medical Equipment Shipment From Russian; China Concealed Extent Of Coronavirus Outbreak, U.S. Intelligence Report Says

Bloomberg: China Concealed Extent of Virus Outbreak, U.S. Intelligence Says
“China has concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak in its country, under-reporting both total cases and deaths it’s suffered from the disease, the U.S. intelligence community concluded in a classified report to the White House, according to three U.S. officials…” (Wadhams/Jacobs, 4/1).

Foreign Policy: Russia Scores Pandemic Propaganda Triumph With Medical Delivery to U.S.
“As top American officials bash the Russian government for spreading disinformation on the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. President Donald Trump is accepting a supply of medical equipment from Moscow. … Trump himself welcomed the move as his administration works to scale up the amount of medical supplies being delivered to overburdened U.S. hospitals across the country, which face a dire shortage of medical supplies. … But the delivery also represents a major optics win for Moscow as the worldwide delivery of medical supplies from competing powers takes on an increasingly geopolitical edge. The United States appears to have shed its traditional role of world leader in a global crisis, critics say, instead redirecting its focus on domestic needs…” (Mackinnon/Gramer, 4/1).

Foreign Policy: Ukraine to World: This Is Not the Time to Go Wobbly on Sanctions
“Facing a global sanctions backlash because of coronavirus concerns, Ukraine has mounted a lone appeal to the United Nations leadership to maintain economic pressure on Russia and other international scofflaws to comply with international law, saying any backtracking on sanctions at this moment would amount to ‘appeasement.’ … The move comes as an unlikely but growing coalition of forces — including China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Democratic lawmakers in the United States, relief agencies, and the U.N. leadership — have advocated an easing of measures in response to the coronavirus…” (Lynch, 4/1).

The Hill: China sees chance to expand global influence amid pandemic
“China is seeking to expand its global influence during the coronavirus pandemic by painting itself as a powerful benefactor at a time when Beijing is facing accusations of concealing information about the initial outbreak. Beijing is touting its shipments of medical supplies to more than 100 countries, including the U.S., as a way to present itself as a global leader providing aid to those in need. But U.S. experts argue that projection is a mirage. Not only is China largely charging for the supplies, they said, it also comes with political strings attached…” (Beavers, 4/2).

PRI: Is coronavirus reshuffling the global power deck?
“The COVID-19 outbreak has set in motion a reshuffling of global powers. Experts say international cooperation is critical to combat COVID-19. But as more and more countries close their borders, global leadership is also retreating behind national walls. … Even at the level of the European Union, solidarity is lacking. China and Russia have stepped in to fill the void by sending supplies and medical staff to hotspots in Europe, as European partners fail to do so. And as China proactively responds to calls for help — and pads its soft power around the world — the U.S. has continued to follow President Donald Trump’s flagship policy of ‘America First’…” (Ekmanis, 4/1).

Additional coverage of Chinese and Russian actions during the COVID-19 pandemic is available from Foreign Policy, The Hill, POLITICO, and Washington Post.

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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