Coronavirus: China accuses US of whipping up panic, Latest World News - The New Paper

Coronavirus: China accuses US of whipping up panic

This article is more than 12 months old

BEIJING: China accused the US yesterday of whipping up panic over the fast-spreading coronavirus with travel restrictions.

The death toll in China from the virus, which emerged in Wuhan, capital of the central province of Hubei, rose to 361 as of Sunday, up 57 from the previous day, the National Health Commission said.

China accused the US of spreading fear by pulling its nationals out and restricting travel instead of offering significant aid. Relations between the two sides had just begun to recover after a long and bruising trade war.

Washington has "unceasingly manufactured and spread panic", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying told reporters, noting that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had advised against trade and travel curbs.

"It is precisely developed countries like the United States with strong epidemic prevention capabilities and facilities that have taken the lead in imposing excessive restrictions contrary to WHO recommendations," she added, saying countries should make reasonable, calm and science-based judgments.

Earlier, President Donald Trump said the US has taken decisive action to protect Americans from the virus threat while offering help to China.

He appeared to downplay concerns about the impact in the US, saying: "We're gonna see what happens, but we did shut it down, yes."

California health officials said on Sunday they had confirmed a ninth case of the coronavirus in Santa Clara, located in the San Francisco Bay area.

Concerns about the virus spurred the US to declare a public health emergency and bar entry to foreign nationals who have recently visited China. US citizens who have travelled in China within 14 days will be directed to one of eight airports designated for screening, with three more to be added today.

Mr Trump's national security adviser Robert O'Brien said China had been more open about the coronavirus than it has been in previous crises but had not yet accepted US offers of assistance. - AFP, REUTERS