'184 countries going through hell': Trump faults China for Covid-19 spread

US President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus spread in Washington | Photo: AP/PTI
US President Donald Trump doubled down on China for failing to tame the coronavirus at its very origin, saying it has led to 184 countries "going through hell", as several American lawmakers demanded steps to reduce dependence on Beijing for manufacturing and minerals.

Trump has been publicly blaming China for the global spread of the "invisible enemy" and launched an investigation against it. He has also indicated that the US may be looking at "a lot more money" in damages from China than the $140 billion being sought by Germany from Beijing for the pandemic.

Leaders of the US, the UK and Germany believe that the deaths and the destruction of the global economy could have been avoided, had China shared the information about the virus in its early phases, news agency PTI reported.

"It's in 184 countries, as you hear me say often. It's hard to believe. It's inconceivable," Trump told reporters at White House Tuesday. "It should have been stopped at the source, which was China. It should have been stopped very much at the source, but it wasn't. And now we have 184 countries going through hell."

The virus, which originated in China's Wuhan city in mid-November, has killed more than 200,000 people and infected over three million globally. The largest number of them are in the US: nearly 59,000 deaths and over one million infections.

The US became the first country in the world to have more than one million cases of coronavirus. It accounts for nearly one-third of the 3.1 million cases globally.

With nearly 59,000 deaths, the US also accounts for one-fourth of the over 213,000 global fatalities.

The massive outbreak in the US has put Trump under increasing pressure from American lawmakers to decrease US dependence on Beijing and they have also sought compensation from China.

Meanwhile, the US is considering coronavirus scanning of air travellers from countries hit hard by the virus to stop its spread in the country, Trump has said.

Trump told reporters that this could be done in coordination with either the airlines or government. We're working with the airlines. Maybe it's a combination of both, he said.

We're looking at doing it on the international flights coming out of areas that are heavily infected, he said.

"But, I think that we're going to look at it from the standpoint--I was discussing that with the Governor of Florida, with Ron (DeSantis), a little while ago. So, we're going to be looking at that coming in from other countries, frankly, but South America seems to be one that's talked about because they have so much business going into Florida," he said.

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