US Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), right, shows off his collection of face coverings to Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), center, and Tim Kaine (D-VA), left, before the Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine COVID-19 and Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.
AFP/Toni L. Sandys, Pool
US Senate threatens sanctions on China over COVID-19 accounting
(Agence France-Presse) - May 13, 2020 - 7:36am

WASHINGTON, United States — US Republican senators proposed legislation Tuesday that would empower President Donald Trump to slap sanctions on China if Beijing does not give a "full accounting" for the coronavirus outbreak.

"The Chinese Communist Party must be held accountable for the detrimental role they played in this pandemic," said Senator Jim Inhofe, one of the sponsors of the "COVID-19 Accountability Act."

"Their outright deception of the origin and spread of the virus cost the world valuable time and lives as it began to spread," he said in a statement.

The legislation will give Trump 60 days to certify to Congress that China has provided a full accounting on the COVID-19 outbreak to an investigation that could be led by the United States and its allies, or a United Nations body like the World Health Organization.

Trump must also certify that China has closed its highest-risk wet markets and released Hong Kong activists arrested in post-COVID-19 crackdowns.

Without certification, Trump would be authorized under the legislation to impose sanctions like asset freezes, travel bans and visa revocations, as well as restricting Chinese businesses' access to US bank financing and capital markets.

"China refuses to allow the international community to go into the Wuhan lab to investigate," said Senator Lindsey Graham, another sponsor of the bill.

"They refuse to allow investigators to study how this outbreak started. I'm convinced China will never cooperate with a serious investigation unless they are made to do so."

CHINA NOVEL CORONAVIRUS UNITED STATES
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 3, 2020 - 7:43am

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

June 3, 2020 - 7:43am

Brazil surpasses 30,000 deaths from the coronavirus outbreak on Tuesday as the disease continued to rip through South America's worst-hit country.

Figures released by the health ministry shows 1,262 deaths in the previous 24-hours, as well as 28,936 new infections. 

The overall number of cases — 555,383 — makes Brazil the second most affected country by the crisis after the United States in terms of infections. — AFP

June 3, 2020 - 7:19am

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 377,213 people since the outbreak first emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1900 GMT on Tuesday. 

At least 6,320,480 cases of coronavirus have been registered in 196 countries and territories. Of these, at least 2,662,300 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. — AFP

June 2, 2020 - 4:47pm

The Department of Health reports 359 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the national tally to 18,997.

There are 84 new recoveries and six new deaths.

June 2, 2020 - 10:27am

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 373,439 people since the outbreak first emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1900 GMT on Monday. 

At least 6,220,110 cases of coronavirus have been registered in 196 countries and territories. Of these, at least 2,599,500 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. — AFP

June 1, 2020 - 9:39pm

South Africa's education minister apologizes on Monday for a week-long delay in reopening schools owing to a lack of "readiness".

Thousands of grade seven and grade 12 students had been preparing to attend the first classes in the country after two and a half months of home-schooling to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The education department announced late on Sunday that it had postponed the resumption date to June 8, saying the extra week would serve to better prepare facilities and train staff.

"It became clear that the sector was at different levels of readiness," Education Minister Angelina Motshekga said at a press briefing on Monday. — AFP

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