China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Monday that Washington “on the one hand required federal organizations to speak with one voice to smear China; and on the other hand criticized China, Russia and Iran for spreading false information.”
“I just want to ask, who on earth is spreading false information, misleading the public and calling white black? Such trick of smearing others with rumors and with the play of a thief crying ‘stop the thief’ are just too clumsy.”
China, he added, has always been “open, transparent and responsible.”
“In the past two months and more, the Chinese people have united as one to fight the epidemic and earned precious time for the rest of the world to take necessary precautionary measures. We have made great contribution. WHO has recently pointed out that countries like Singapore and South Korea made good use of the precious time earned by China and took measures. Their moves have curbed the epidemic spread. What has the US done during this period?”
The Chinese official also stated that since January 3 the government in Beijing had been providing “regular briefings” to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other countries, including the United States.
On January 23, he added, “China announced to shut down roads exiting Wuhan City. The US government on February 2 announced to ban entry of all foreigners who had been to China in 14 days before. By then the US just announced a dozen of confirmed COVID-19 cases.”
“Now 50 days have passed, the confirmed cases in the US have surged from less than 20 to more than 30,000. What kind of strong measures has the US taken in the 50 days? It had totally squandered the time China earned for the world.”
The Chinese official further noted that Washington is seeking to “defame” others and “find a scapegoat” instead of admitting its own mistake, “which is totally immoral and irresponsible, and will do nothing good to the US epidemic control work and to the international cooperation in fighting the epidemic.”
“All it should do is concentrating on its own business and play a constructive role in working with all countries to fight the epidemic and protecting global public health security,” the Chinese official said of the US government.
Beijing fumes at US attempt to link coronavirus to ChinaChina harshly hits back at US President Donald Trump over a tweet in which he referred to the new coronovirus as the “Chinese Virus.”
The COVID-19 disease, caused by the new coronavirus, emerged in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, in December. It has been reportedly contained in China, but is spreading rapidly around the globe.
UN to set up global coronavirus fund: Norway
Meanwhile, Norway said on Monday that the United Nations will set up a fund to prevent the spread of coronavirus and support the treatment of patients worldwide.
The purpose of the fund, proposed by the Norwegian government, is to assist developing countries with weak health systems in coping with the pandemic as well as to tackle the long-term consequences.
The initiative is similar to a 2014 United Nations Ebola Response Fund.
“We want to make sure that the efforts are as unified as possible and as early as possible so that we can answer up to the demands that countries will have, especially the poorest countries,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide told Reuters.
Coronavirus updates: Europe’s key economies at standstill, as death toll rises worldwide The coronavirus pandemic brings Europe’s key economies to a standstill as the fast-spreading disease continues to kill more people in the continent and other parts of the world.
In Africa, Angola, Eritrea and Uganda have confirmed their first cases, while Mauritius recorded its first death as the virus spreads across the continent despite efforts by governments to hold it back.
Elsewhere in the Gaza Strip, the first two cases were confirmed on Sunday.
Coronavirus aid to Italy not a ploy to get EU sanctions lifted: Russia
The Kremlin said Monday that medical assistance Russia is providing to Italy is not part of an attempt to get Rome help lift EU sanctions on Moscow.
The Russian army on Sunday began flying medical help to Italy after receiving an order from President Vladimir Putin, a goodwill gesture that Moscow labeled “From Russia with Love.”
Italy is the European country hardest hit by the viral crisis.
When asked if Russia expected Italy to return the favor by trying to get EU sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine lifted, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the notion as absurd.
“We’re not talking about any conditions or calculations or hopes here,” Peskov said.
“Italy is really in need of much more wide scale help and what Russia does is manageable.”
Russia to use mobile phones to track people at risk
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has given the authorities five days to develop a system to track people who have come into contact with anyone with coronavirus by using mobile phone geolocation data.
Under the new system, people would be sent information if they came into contact with someone who was infected and the same information would be passed on to special regional headquarters set up to fight the respiratory disease pandemic.
The Kremlin said the measure was legal and part of a raft of measures Russia is taking to try to halt the spread.
Russia recommends higher education switch to distance learning over coronavirus fears Russia recommends that higher educational institutions switch to distance learning over the coronavirus pandemic.
Postponement of Olympics should be considered: Japan
The head of the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC) said he had to consider postponing the Games among his options amid increasing calls from committees around the world to delay the Olympics due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“From the athletes’ point of view of safety and security, we have to come to a stage where we cannot help but consider things including postponement,” JOC President Yasuhiro Yamashita told reporters on Monday.
However, he said too long a delay would be a burden to athletes given the possibility of having to qualify again, for example.
Spain death toll tops 2,000 after 462 deaths in 24 hours
The coronavirus death toll in Spain has surged to 2,182 after 462 people died within 24 hours, the health ministry says.
The death rate showed a 27-percent increase on the figures released a day earlier, with the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rising to 33,089 in Spain, one of the worst-hit countries in the world after China and Italy.
Despite an unprecedented national lockdown which was put in place on March 14, the number of deaths and infections have spiraled in Spain, with the figures growing as the country steps up its capacity for testing.
And the lockdown, which was initially put in place for two weeks, will be extended until April 11 to try to curb the spread, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said — in a measure which will be put to parliament on Tuesday.
The rise in infections in this country of 46 million people has brought Spain’s healthcare system to the brink of collapse, particularly in Madrid, the worst-hit area, which has registered 10,575 cases, and where 1,263 people have died — accounting for 58 percent of the national death toll.
Some 3,910 healthcare workers have tested positive for the virus, or around 12 percent of those infected, the health ministry’s emergencies coordinator Fernando Simon said.
Officials have repeatedly warned that the number of deaths and infections would continue to rise this week and that the worst was yet to come.
Coronavirus updates: Spain declares emergency state, some EU states block entry The Spanish government has declared a state of emergency as the country struggles to stem the spread of the flu-like pathogen.
Greece bans flights from UK, Turkey as coronavirus cases rise
Greece has suspended flights from Britain and Turkey to curb the spread of coronavirus, as a lockdown took effect in the country.
The ban came into effect at 0400 GMT — 6:00 a.m. in Athens — on March 23 and ends at 1300 GMT on April 15.
It was a temporary and preemptive measure, a ministerial decree said, as part of further efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Greece saw its largest single-day jump in confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday, a rise of 94 infections which brought the total to 624, with fatalities increasing to 15.
The prime minister announced a curfew with few exceptions restricting the movement of people, the latest in a series of measures to fight the virus. Greece has already sealed its borders to non-EU citizens, and those from Italy and Spain.
Police officers were deployed on the streets of Athens on Monday to enforce the lockdown, which allows people out only with special permits. The lockdown order came into effect at 0400 GMT.
Two more doctors die from coronavirus in France
Two more doctors have died after contracting the coronavirus in France, officials said on Monday, a day after the country reported the first death of a doctor treating COVID-19 patients.
One of the doctors, a 66-year-old gynaecologist in Mulhouse near the border with Switzerland and Germany, was infected by a patient during a consultation, according to his clinic.
The other was a 60-year-old general practitioner at a hospital in Saint-Avold near Metz, further north along the German frontier, according to the town’s mayor.
Both died on Sunday when officials announced the death of a 67-year-old doctor who was among the first to treat coronavirus cases in the northern Oise department, which has been badly hit by the outbreak.
Health experts warn that many French hospitals are already overflowing with coronavirus cases even as the government races to set up military field hospitals to help cope with a shortage of beds.
Mulhouse has imposed its own nighttime curfew in addition to nationwide home-confinement rules seeking to curtail the virus, which has spread rapidly in France’s eastern regions.
France is also experiencing a shortfall of ventilators to care for seriously ill patients and face masks and other protective equipment for health workers.
France’s National Health Service reported Sunday that 674 people had died in the country so far — an increase of 112 in 24 hours.