The US president made the remark in a series of tweets pledging support to airlines and industries affected by the virus, that has now claimed 48 lives in the country. Mr Trump asked Americans to “band together and support your neighbours by not hoarding unnecessary amounts of food and essentials”. He said: “Together we will stay strong and overcome this challenge! The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese virus. We will be stronger than ever before!”
The comment comes as the two nations’ attempt to smear the other. Beijing has strongly opposed Mr Trump’s choice of words.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a daily briefing the US should first take care of its own matters.
The backlash was in response to Chinese officials who said US troops could have introduced the coronavirus to China.
But Mike Pompeo told Beijing’s top diplomat Yang Jiech his nation was publishing lies.
He said: “This is not the time to spread disinformation and outlandish rumours, but rather a time for all nations to come together to fight this common threat.”
However, Mr Yang rejected the claim saying US lawmakers had “continuously denigrated” China’s measures to stop the virus and aroused the strong indignation of the Chinese people”.
Mr Trump came under pressure yesterday to escalate national action to stop the spread of the virus, prompting the White House to close bars, restaurants and other venues in some states. People were also told to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
However, Mr Trump refrained from ordering a widespread public quarantine, lockdown or curfew, despite some states and local authorities imposing mandatory restrictions on restaurants, cinemas and places of leisure.
Mr Trump also said he felt it wouldn’t be necessary to postpone primary elections, like those announced in Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana and Kentucky.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said on Twitter his administration was ordering polls closed on Tuesday in defiance of a state court ruling to the contrary.
China, which has seen a dramatic decline in the number of daily cases, is now concerned about cases from abroad, with some 20,000 people flying into the country daily.
All international arrivals at Beijing airport are to go into a 14-day quarantine in designated hotels.
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The country has seen a total of 80,860 cases of which more than 67,000 patients have recovered from the virus.
Since Europe became the epicentre of the virus, fear is growing over a second wave of cases in Asia such as China, South Korea, Japan and Singapore.
On Friday, the WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Europe had become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “More cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic.”
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