Washington: Nikki Haley, the Indian-American former US ambassador to the UN, has joined President Donald Trump in criticising China for the handling of the deadly coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 5,000 people globally and spread to nearly 148 countries.
The US now has at least 46,168 cases of the coronavirus and 582 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 followed by Washington.
“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. She 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% and its geographic spread limited.
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 reported no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases for the first time since the the pandemic began, 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,” President 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,” the president said in response to a question.