US, China accuse each other of coronavirus fear-mongering
In this file photo taken on March 5, 2020 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers remarks to the media, in the Press Briefing Room, at the Department of State in Washington,DC. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned China on March 16, 2020 not to spread disinformation on the novel coronavirus after an official in Beijing promoted a conspiracy theory on US involvement.In a phone call with senior Chinese official Yang Jiechi, Pompeo "stressed that this is not the time to spread disinformation and outlandish rumors, but rather a time for all nations to come together to fight this common threat," the State Department said.
AFP/Eric Baradat
US, China accuse each other of coronavirus fear-mongering
Shaun Tandon (Agence France-Presse) - March 17, 2020 - 7:55am

WASHINGTON, United States — The United States and China on Monday each demanded that the other stop smearing its reputation over the novel coronavirus as the pandemic became the latest row between the powers.

The clash came on the day that the World Health Organization said more cases and deaths had been reported in the rest of the world than in China, where the new coronavirus virus was first detected late last year.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a phone call he initiated with top Chinese official Yang Jiechi, voiced anger that Beijing has used official channels "to shift blame for COVID-19 to the United States," the State Department said.

Pompeo "stressed that this is not the time to spread disinformation and outlandish rumors, but rather a time for all nations to come together to fight this common threat," the department added.

The State Department on Friday summoned the Chinese ambassador, Cui Tiankai, to denounce Beijing's promotion of a conspiracy theory that had gained wide attention on social media. 

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, in tweets last week in both Mandarin and English, suggested that "patient zero" in the global pandemic may have come from the United States -- not the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan. 

"It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation," tweeted Zhao, who is known for his provocative statements on social media.

Scientists suspect that the virus first came to humans at a meat market in Wuhan that butchered exotic animals.

'Stern warning' to US

Pompeo himself has sought to link China to the global pandemic, repeatedly referring to SARS-CoV-2 as the "Wuhan virus" despite advice from health professionals that such geographic labels can be stigmatizing.

Yang issued a "stern warning to the United States that any scheme to smear China will be doomed to fail," the official Xinhua news agency said in its summary of the call with Pompeo.

The key Chinese foreign policy leader "noted that some US politicians have frequently slandered China and its anti-epidemic efforts and stigmatized the country, which has enraged the Chinese people," Xinhua said.

"He urged the US side to immediately correct its wrongful behavior and stop making groundless accusations against China."

President Donald Trump, under fire over his handling of the pandemic, and his allies have sought to cast the coronavirus as a disease brought by foreigners.

Republican Senator Tom Cotton, a Trump ally, has spoken of the "Chinese coronavirus" and in a recent statement vowed, "we will hold accountable those who inflicted it on the world."

While COVID-19 -- the disease caused by the virus -- has largely come under control in China, it has killed more than 7,000 people around the world and severely disrupted daily life in Western countries.

The pandemic comes at a time of wide-ranging tensions between the United States and China on issues from trade to human rights to Beijing's military buildup.

CHINA NOVEL CORONAVIRUS UNITED STATES
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: October 26, 2020 - 9:29am

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

October 26, 2020 - 9:29am

Australian health officials on Monday report no new coronavirus cases or deaths in Victoria state, which has spent months under onerous restrictions after becoming the epicenter of the country's second wave.

It was the first 24-hour period without any new COVID-19 cases reported in the state since the five million residents of Melbourne were locked down after security bungles at quarantine hotels housing returned international travelers sparked a major outbreak in July.

Under the lockdown, people in the city — Australia's second-biggest — have been barred from leaving their homes for non-essential reasons and spent months under an overnight curfew.

Some restrictions were lifted last week, allowing haircuts and golf games to return, but further easing planned for Sunday was delayed to assess thousands of test results after a small outbreak in the city's north. — AFP

October 25, 2020 - 11:08am

The United States saw a record high number of new daily COVID-19 cases for the second day in a row on Saturday, figures from Johns Hopkins University showed, as warnings grew over its spread.

The country reported 88,973 new infections between 8:30 pm Friday and 8:30 pm Saturday, the figures showed, substantially above the previous day's 79,963.

A total of 8,568,625 cases have been reported in the United States with 224,751 deaths, the highest in the world in absolute terms. — AFP

October 24, 2020 - 4:04pm

The Department of Health reports 2,057 additional cases of the coronavirus disease, bringing the national tally to 367,819.

To date, there are 47,773 active cases. The DOH registers 19 new deaths and 442 additional recoveries.

October 24, 2020 - 2:32pm

Poland's president tests positive for COVID-19, an official says.

October 24, 2020 - 1:24pm

A record of nearly 80,000 new Covid-19 infections over the course of a day were reported in the United States, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Between 8:30 pm Thursday and the same time Friday, 79,963 infections were recorded, bringing the total number since the start of the pandemic to nearly 8.5 million in the country.

The United States had already approached the bar of 80,000 daily cases in July, largely due to new infections in southern states such as Texas and Florida, where the virus was then spreading out of control. — AFP

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