China said it has neither created the novel coronavirus nor intentionally passed it on to other nations, and reiterated its strong objection to the usage of terms “China virus” or “Wuhan virus”, PTI reported on Thursday. Ji Rong, spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in India, said the international community should acknowledge Beijing’s “swift response” in containing the pandemic instead of “stereotyping the Chinese people”.

The envoy claimed that while the first case of Covid-19, the disease caused by the deadly virus, was reported from Wuhan in China, there was still no substantial evidence that linked its origins to the country. The origin of the novel coronavirus was a matter of science that required professional and scientific assessment, he added.

The diplomat pointed out that even the World Health Organisation had said linking China or Wuhan with the coronavirus must be corrected. “Those people who are trying to stigmatise China’s efforts have ignored the huge sacrifices the Chinese people made in safeguarding the health and safety of all mankind,” he said.

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Ji Rong also highlighted the collective efforts made by China and India to fight the pandemic, saying both countries have maintained communication and lent support to each other to help cope with the difficult times. “The Indian side has provided medical supplies to China and supported its fight against the contagion in various ways,” he added. “We express appreciation and thanks for that.”

China on Tuesday had asked India not to use the country’s name while referring to the coronavirus, and said that it could stigmatise the country and harm international relations.

Meanwhile, United States President Donald Trump, who has been criticised for calling coronavirus the “Chinese virus”, on Wednesday blamed the World Health Organisation for siding with China on the pandemic. Trump claimed that many were unhappy with the “very unfair” praise by the global health agency on Beijing’s handling of the Covid-19 outbreak.

“It [WHO] has very very much sided with China. A lot of people are not happy about it,” Trump told reporters at a White House at news conference, according to PTI. “I think there is certainly a lot of talk that it’s been very unfair.”

Trump had earlier said he would stop using the term “Chinese virus” to refer to the pandemic. He also said that Asian-Americans have to be protected amid increasing instances of racial attacks against them.

China and the US had engaged in a war of words over the origin of the novel coronavirus. On March 12, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian had alleged that the US Army may have brought the deadly coronavirus to his country. Zhao’s tweet was accompanied by a video of a US health official saying that some of the people thought to have died of influenza were posthumously diagnosed as having had coronavirus or COVID-19.

The toll in the coronavirus epidemic in India rose to 13, and the total number of infections increased to 649, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Of these, 593 patients are still undergoing treatment.