United States President Donald Trump on Saturday threatened China with consequences if it was “knowingly responsible” for the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported.
“It [the coronavirus outbreak] could have been stopped in China before it started and it wasn’t, and the whole world is suffering because of it,” Trump said in his daily White House briefing, as US cases topped 7,30,000 and fatalities in the country approached 39,000. “If it was a mistake, a mistake is a mistake. But if they were knowingly responsible, yeah, I mean, then sure there should be consequences.”
Trump said the Chinese were “embarrassed” and the question now was whether what happened with the coronavirus was “a mistake that got out of control, or was it done deliberately?”
During the White House briefing, Trump interrupted his coronavirus response coordinator, Deborah Birx, who was showing a comparison of deaths per 1 lakh people in a range of countries, to say he didn’t believe China and Iran’s stated fatalities, The Hindustan Times reported. “Does anybody really believe these figures?” he asked.
Birx also questioned China’s data, including that the country’s death rate per 1 lakh people was far below major European countries and the US, calling the figures “unrealistic”. She said China had a “moral obligation” to provide credible information.
Trump has repeatedly questioned the accuracy of China’s official figures on the number of coronavirus cases and deaths claiming that country hid the extent of the outbreak from the world,
Last week, Trump said his administration was trying to determine the origins of the coronavirus and whether the pandemic began when the pathogen accidentally escaped a Chinese laboratory, claiming that “more and more we’re hearing the story”
The United States has reported 7,35,086 coronavirus cases with 38,910 deaths as of Sunday, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Covid-19 has affected 23.28 lakh people, and caused 1.6 lakh deaths in the world. More than 1 lakh people have died of the coronavirus in Europe.