Coronavirus: Donald Trump says US may seek damages from China over Covid-19

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USA, President Donald Trump, China, investigations, coronavirus, Covid-19
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a coronavirus response news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 27, 2020.

Washington, United States - U.S President says his administration is doing 'very serious investigations' into claims China could have prevented the 'worldwide damage' caused by the pandemic.

By Reuters and AFP

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Published: Tue 28 Apr 2020, 4:42 AM

Last updated: Tue 28 Apr 2020, 6:52 AM

US President Donald Trump suggested on Monday that he may seek damages from China over the coronavirus outbreak which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan and spread around the world.
"We're doing very serious investigations ... We are not happy with China," Trump said at a White House news conference. "There are a lot of ways you can hold them accountable."
"We believe it could have been stopped at the source. It could have been stopped quickly and it wouldn't have spread all over the world."
Mr Trump was asked about a recent German newspaper editorial that called on Beijing to pay Berlin $165 billion (Dh606.06bn) because of economic damage caused by the virus.
"We can do something much easier than that," he said.
"Germany is looking at things, we are looking at things. We are talking about a lot more money than Germany's talking about.
"We haven't determined the final amount yet. It's very substantial.
"This is worldwide damage. This is damage to the US, but this is damage to the world."
There have been more than 56,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the US and the pandemic has shut down huge parts of the economy, leaving tens of millions unemployed.
Trump's criticism was the latest from his administration to target China's handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which began late last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has grown into a global pandemic.

Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States "strongly believed" Beijing failed to report the outbreak in a timely manner and covered up how dangerous the respiratory illness caused by the virus was.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Twitter on Monday Pompeo should "stop playing the political game. Better save energy on saving lives".
The coronavirus outbreak has killed more than 207,000 people around the world, including more than 55,000 in the United States, according to a Reuters tally.
Earlier on Monday, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro accused China of sending low-quality and even counterfeit coronavirus antibody testing kits to the United States and of "profiteering" from the pandemic.
Navarro, an outspoken critic of Beijing whom Trump has appointed to work on supply-line issues relating to the health crisis, said more testing both for the virus and antibodies was vital to getting Americans currently in lockdown back to work.
"That's where, perhaps, we can find people who are immune, that can be in the workplace in a more safe environment. But we can't have China, for example, bringing in those fake tests and counterfeit tests, because that's going to be very disruptive," Navarro said in an interview on Fox News.
"There's a lot of these antibody tests coming in from China now that are low quality, false readings and things like that," he said.
The United States is heavily reliant on China for basic equipment and drugs.
Meanwhile, Trump said he expects to see a "lot" of US schools reopen after being shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.
"Many (state governors) are thinking about their school system," Trump said.
"Not a long way to go in the school system right now, for this season, for this year, but I think you'll see a lot of schools open up," he said.
"Even if it's for a very short period of time, I think it would be a good thing," Trump told reporters.
"Young people seem to do very well," he added in an apparent reference to studies showing that children do not get as sick from the virus as older people.
"So I know that there are some governors that aren't necessarily ready to open up their states, but they may be ready to open up their school systems," Trump said.
"That's their choice, but the word is safety," he said. "Rapid -- but safety."
Schools around the country have closed because of the coronavirus pandemic and many have switched to online instruction.
Trump also dismissed allegations by his opponent Joe Biden that he would try to delay the November election as the United States struggles to quell the coronavirus outbreak.
"I never even thought of changing the date of the election. Why would I do that?" Trump told reporters at the White House.
"I look forward to that election, and that was just made-up propaganda. Not by him, but by some of the many people that are working" for Biden, Trump said.
The president cannot by law unilaterally change the date of the election, which is due on November 3.
"Mark my words, I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can't be held," Biden said during an online fundraiser last week.

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