The Chinese government intentionally concealed the severity of Covid-19 from the international community while it stockpiled imports and decreased exports, a Department of Homeland Security report found, according to an administration official familiar with the report.
"China likely cut its exports of medical supplies prior to its January WHO (World Health Organization) notification that COVID-19 is a contagion," the report reads, according to the source.
The report, which assessed export and import data earlier this year, was circulated within the federal government on Friday, the source said.
The DHS assessment also says, "in its communications, China intentionally concealed its trade activity by publicly denying it has ever imposed an export ban on masks and other medical supplies," according to the source.
The findings were assessed at "moderate confidence," the source told CNN, pointing out that the report does not conclude whether the actions of the Chinese government were nefarious. It is reasonable to conclude that based on the outbreak, before it was declared a pandemic, that China would recognize key measurements in determining requirements for the need of personal protective equipment, said the source.
The US needs "to be mindful about, 'what do you do about it?'" said the source. "Is this a trigger that propels industry here? Will there be enough in the stockpile" going forward? questioned the source.
China has access to a wide array of raw materials that are necessary in establishing a production line of goods that are necessary in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, said the source, whether it’s surgical gowns, masks, or goggles.
"They have a robust manufacturing capability and workforce that can quickly ramp up manufacturing," said the source.
ABC first reported the existence of the report.