Researches at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are in a race against time to create a vaccine that will stop the deadly Chinese coronavirus that has sickened at least 500 people and killed 17.

China’s leaders are reportedly warning lower-level officials not to suppress the spread of the epidemic, which began at a live animal food market in the city of Wuhan.

Per Fox News:

Any lower-level officials who attempt to conceal new cases would “be nailed on the pillar of shame for eternity,” officials with the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, a top political body in the country that handles law and order, allegedly said, according to the BBC.

The warning was sparked after information was reportedly withheld from the public at the start of the outbreak. More specifically, the number of cases was underreported and the risks of the new coronavirus were understated.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has since pushed for all information regarding the outbreak to be made readily available, according to the BBC, which cited Chinese state media. He reportedly added that “all-out efforts” are being made to control the spread of the virus.

The call for transparency comes after China saw a deadly outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003. Some 8,000 people were infected while at least 770 died after the disease spread to other cities and countries across the world.

The U.S. government confirmed the first case of coronavirus in America on Tuesday and is working on implementing health screenings at airports.

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