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China slams US ‘barefaced lies’ over virus handling


US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang

China has accused American politicians of telling “barefaced lies” in the time of the coronavirus pandemic, after US President Donald Trump threatened to seek damages from Beijing for the outbreak.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020 2:08 PM  [ Last Update: Tuesday, 28 April 2020 2:15 PM ]

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the comment at a press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, stressing that the US aimed to divert public attention from its own mishandling by accusing China of failing to tackle the outbreak at home. 

“American politicians have repeatedly ignored the truth and have been telling barefaced lies,” Geng told reporters at the press briefing.

“They have only one objective: shirk their responsibility for their own poor epidemic prevention and control measures, and divert public attention.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman went on to say that the US politicians should “reflect on their own problems and find ways to contain the outbreak as quickly as possible.”

Trump had suggested a day earlier that the US might seek damages from China over the pandemic, saying there were many options to “hold them accountable.”

“We are not happy with China,” Trump said at a White House presser. “We are not happy with that whole situation because we believe it could have been stopped at the source.”

Since the flu-like pathogen broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December, Beijing and Washington have time and again clashed over the virus spread, further increasing tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Trump keeps referring to the novel coronavirus, which causes a respiratory disease known as COVID-19, as the Chinese virus. Beijing has hit back by suggesting that the US military brought the virus to Wuhan and initiated the outbreak.

The US recorded 1,303 more virus deaths in the 24 hours to late Monday, according to figures reported by Johns Hopkins University.

The country now has an overall death toll of 56,144, with 987,022 infections. At least 111,109 people have recovered.

Trump is under fire for publicly downplaying the threat of the pandemic when it broke out in the US in late February, and his handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

The US president has claimed at the time that coronavirus cases would soon “be down to close to zero,” and did not declare a national emergency over the pandemic until the end of March, as virus cases were on the rise in New York and the stock market nosedived.

An opinion poll conducted and released by Gallup company on Monday showed that almost one-third of Americans had lost work or income due to the coronavirus, especially low-income earners, by getting fired, laid off or having their hours cut.

The virus has so far infected over 3,084,000 people worldwide. Nearly 213,000 have died, according to a running count by worldometers.info.

China has fiercely defended its handling of the new coronavirus, repeatedly saying it “has been nothing but open, transparent and responsible” in informing the World Health Organization (WHO) and relevant countries about the pandemic and related information.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, the origin of the virus has been widely discussed online, and conspiracy theories around it have also emerged endlessly.

Scientific studies have already suggested that the virus originated through natural processes.

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