The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on March 20 urged Beijing to make details of the emergence of coronavirus ‘available to the whole world’. China, on serval occasions, has been accused of covering up information on the novel virus. US President Donald Trump had also said that the world is suffering because of the cover-up, however, China has said that they have shared data with US throughout the health crisis.
Mike Pompeo, while speaking to the White House reporters said, “The Chinese government was the first to know of this risk to the world. And that puts a special obligation to make sure that data gets to our scientists, our professionals.”.
He further added, “This is not about retribution. We're in a live exercise here to get this right. We need to make sure that even today, the data sets that are available to every country, including data sets that are made available to the Chinese communist party, are made available to the whole world. It's imperative to keep people safe”.
Pompeo’s statement came after Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang accused Trump of trying to ‘shift the blame’ for coronavirus pandemic. Shuang reportedly said that some people on the US side are trying to stigmatise China’s fight against the epidemic and shift the blame onto China. He further added that the approach ignores the great sacrifice made by the Chinese people to safeguard the health and safety of humankind, and slanders China’s major contribution to global public health.
Meanwhile, Trump launched a scathing attack on China and said the world is paying a ‘very big price’ for covering-up the facts on coronavirus. During a press briefing along with the members of White House Coronavirus Task Force, Trump said that if the threats of the virus would have been made public at an earlier stage, the virus could have been contained to the area where it started. Trump also accused China of suppressing the initial reports of the coronavirus outbreak and its severity which caused Chinese and international experts to miss critical opportunities to prevent a pandemic.
Trump even justified the branding of the novel coronavirus pandemic as the ‘Chinese virus’. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has explicitly advised against it. While China has slammed Trump and other US officials for referring the virus as ‘Chinese Virus’ or ‘Wuhan Virus’, the US President has been trying to justify the term. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also lashed out at Trump for stigmatising a race and a particular community saying the US President doesn’t need to incite a backlash against the already suffering Asian-American communities.