US President Donald Trump claimed on Thursday with a high degree of confidence that the novel coronavirus, that has killed over 230,000 people globally so far and has shattered economies, emerged from a virology lab in the Wuhan city of China. Asked what gave him a high degree of confidence that the virus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, he said that he is not allowed to say that, adding that he is not holding Chine President Xi Jinping responsible for it. Earlier on Wednesday Xi has called China's handling of coronavirus as a strategic achievement.
"Yes, I have. Yes, I have, I can't tell you that. I'm not allowed to tell you that. I don't want to say that, I don't want to say that, but certainly it could have been stopped. It came out of China and it could have been stopped and I wish they had stopped it and so does the whole world wish they had stopped it." Trump added, "They were either unable to, or they chose not to. And the world has suffered greatly. They either didn't do it and you know they couldn't do it from a competent standpoint or they let it spread and I would say probably it got out of control. Something happened. I don't say misleading or not. I'll let you know that. I mean, I'll be able to give you that answer at some point in the hopefully not-too-distant future"
Before holding them accountable, Trump said he wants to find out what happened. "I think we'll be able to get a very good -- a very powerful definition of exactly what happened. We're working on it strongly now and I think it's going to be very powerful. But they could have stopped it. They are a very brilliant nation, scientifically and otherwise. It got loose, let's say, and they could have capped it. They could have stopped it, but they didn't. And they stopped the planes from going to China, but they didn't stop them from going to the rest of the world. What was that all about? he asked.
Coronavirus has so far infected 1,095,023 people in US and claimed 63,856 lives, while 152,324 have recovered.
Last week, Trump halted US funding to the UN body after alleging mismanaging the coronavirus crisis. Trump has blamed WHO's "very much sided" approach to China on coronavirus crisis, asserting that many people are unhappy with the global health agency and feel that "it's been very unfair". In an obvious reference to China, he said: "Everybody knows what's going on there."
Responding to the halt of funds, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday said that they regret the decision made by Trump. He said that the US has been a 'longstanding & generous friend' and maintained that WHO 'works with all nations equally, and it does not 'discriminate'.
(with PTI inputs)