US President Donald Trump has warned that China should face consequences if it was “knowingly responsible” for the coronavirus pandemic, as deaths in Europe from Covid-19 approached 100,000.
“IT could have been stopped in China before it started and it wasn’t, and the whole world is suffering because of it,” Trump said in his daily White House briefing, as US cases topped 730,000 and fatalities in the country approached 39,000.
“If it was a mistake, a mistake is a mistake. But if they were knowingly responsible, yeah, I mean, then sure there should be consequences,” Trump said. He did not elaborate on what form that might take.
He said the Chinese were “embarrassed” and the question now was whether what happened with the coronavirus was “a mistake that got out of control, or was it done deliberately?”
On Sunday China reported just 16 new confirmed coronavirus cases, its lowest number since 17 March and down from 27 a day earlier. No new deaths were reported.
During the White House briefing, Trump interrupted his coronavirus response coordinator, Deborah Birx, who was showing a comparison of deaths per 100,000 people in a range of countries, to say he didn’t believe China and Iran’s stated fatalities.
“Does anybody really believe these figures?” he asked.
China has reacted angrily after US President Donald Trump referred to the coronavirus as “Chinese.” A foreign ministry spokesman warned the US should “take care of its own business” before stigmatising China. The first cases of Covid -19 were recorded in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
However, last week a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman shared a conspiracy theory, alleging the US Army had brought it to the region. The unfounded accusation led US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to demand China stop spreading “disinformation” as it tried “to shift blame” for the outbreak.