Nikki Haley joins Donald Trump on criticising China for coronavirus outbreak

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Updated: March 19, 2020 10:47 AM

The deadly coronavirus outbreak, which first emerged in China's Wuhan city last year, has killed 8,809 people and infected 21,8631 across 157 countries and territories, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

Nikki Haley, Donald Trump, China, coronavirus outbreak, coronavirus death, Wuhan city, White House , latest news on coronavirusHaley’s tweet came hours after Trump said that China did not inform the international community in time about the virus. (Reuters photo)

Nikki Haley, the Indian-American former US ambassador to the UN, has joined President Donald Trump on criticising China for the handling of the deadly coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 8,000 people globally and spread to nearly 157 countries. The deadly coronavirus outbreak, which first emerged in China’s Wuhan city last year, has killed 8,809 people and infected 21,8631 across 157 countries and territories, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

The United States now has at least 8,736 cases of the coronavirus and 149 deaths, according to state and local health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York is by far the worst-hit state, with more than 2,900 cases. Washington is next, with 1,187 cases

“China is now trying to create a narrative that it’s an example of how to handle this crisis when in fact its early actions led to the virus spreading around the globe,” 48-year-old Haley said in a tweet. Haley referred to a study which has indicated that if Chinese authorities had acted three weeks earlier than they did, the number of coronavirus cases could have been reduced by 95 per cent and its geographic spread limited.

The National Security Council of the White House alleged that the Chinese Communist Party suppressed initial reports on the Chinese virus and punished doctors and journalists, causing Chinese and international experts to miss critical opportunities to prevent a global pandemic.

In China, a total of 80,928 cases and 3,245 deaths have been reported so far, according to the National Health Commission. The country on Thursday reported no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases for the first time since the the pandemic began late last year, marking a major turning point in the global battle to contain COVID-19.

Haley’s tweet came hours after Trump said that China did not inform the international community in time about the virus. “I don’t know if you’d say China is to blame. Certainly, we didn’t get an early run on it. It would have been helpful if we knew about it earlier. But it comes from China, and there’s not a question about that. Nobody is questioning that,” Trump said.

Over the past few days there has been a war of word between the US and China on coronavirus. “It’s not racist at all… It comes from China. That’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate,” Trump told reporters at a White House news conference. “I have great love for all of the people from our country. But, as you know, China tried to say at one point — maybe they stopped now — that it was caused by American soldiers. That can’t happen. It’s not going to happen — not as long as I’m President. It comes from China,” he said in response to a question.

Republcian Senator John Cornyn said that China is to be blamed for the coronavirus. “China is to be blame because the culture where people eat bats and snakes and dogs and things like that, these viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people and that’s why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, MERS, the Swine Flu,” he said.

Congresswoman Judy Chu, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus opposed such a view. “Senator Cornyn’s comments are disgusting. Disparaging an entire ethnic group and culture like this is bigotry, plain and simple. Blaming Chinese people en masse for the spread of this disease is the exact same bigoted line that was used to justify the Chinese Exclusion Act over a century ago,” she said.

“Over the past few days, Trump has repeatedly labelled this pandemic as the ‘Chinese virus,’ and his loyal Republican followers have come to his defence in increasingly hateful terms. Their words are inciting racism and violence against Asian Americans in the United States,” Chu said. Trump using the phrase ‘Chinese Virus’ violates guidance issued by the World Health Organisation and the promises by members of Trump’s own administration, including Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield, to refrain from using that term precisely to describe COVID-19 because it incites blame, racism, and hatred towards Asian Americans, putting them at risk for prejudice and violence, alleged a group of four US lawmakers in a joint statement.

The lawmakers are Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chairwoman Judy Chu, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin Castro, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass, and Congressional Native American Caucus Co-Chair Deb Haaland.

“The name of the virus causing the crisis in America and around the world is the 2019 novel coronavirus or COVID-19 for short. It has a name. But Republicans, from President Trump on down, have insisted on creating and using alternatives such as the ‘Chinese’ or ‘Wuhan’ virus. This is dangerous and they know it,” they said. “But by telling people who to blame, they are telling people who to fear and who to hate. Unfortunately, we have already seen how this bigotry has impacted Asian Americans across the country who are facing increased prejudice and violence,” the four Congressmen said. By doing that, the lawmakers said, the Republicans are putting American lives at risk. Conversely. PTI LKJ AMS 03191011

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