The US wants to send a team of experts to China to investigate coronavirus, President Donald Trump has said, a day after he warned Beijing of “consequences” if it was knowingly responsible for the spread of COVID-19 which has killed more than 165,000 people globally, including over 41,000 in America.
Describing the coronavirus as a plague, Trump, during his White House news conference on Sunday, said that he is not happy with China where the pandemic emerged in December last year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
“We spoke to them (Chinese) a long time ago about going in. We want to go in. We want to see what’s going on. And we weren’t exactly invited, I can tell you that,” the President told reporters.
“I was very happy with the (trade) deal (with China), very happy with everything and then we found out about the plague and since we found out about that I’m not happy,” he said.
The US has launched an investigation into whether the deadly virus “escaped” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
He has repeatedly expressed disappointment over China’s handling of the coronavirus disease, alleged non-transparency and initial non-cooperation from Beijing with Washington on dealing with the crisis.
“Based on an investigation, we are going to find out,” Trump told reporters.
A day earlier, he warned China that it should face consequences if it was “knowingly responsible” for the spread of the novel coronavirus, upping the ante on Beijing over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If they (China) were knowingly responsible… then there should be consequences. You’re talking about, you know, potentially lives like nobody’s seen since 1917,” Trump said on Saturday.
The opposition Democratic Party said that Trump has falsely claimed he acted early by restricting travel from China when it was little too late and he continued to downplay the virus throughout February.
The number of COVID-19 deaths in the US crossed 41,000 and the total infections were more than 764,000 so far.
New York, the epicentre of the deadly COVID-19 in the US, has 2,42,000 cases and over 17,600 fatalities so far. It has registered a 50- per cent decline in new cases over an eight-day period.
The novel virus, which emerged in China in December last year, has killed over 160,000 and infected more than 2.3 million people worldwide.