U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday dubbed coronavirus the “Chinese Virus” three times in less than an hour.
Trump’s salvos against China come after Asian nation’s claims that U.S. army has brought the coronavirus to its territories.
Several users of the Chinese social media platform Weibo have claimed that the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was introduced to China when 300 U.S. military members arrived in the Wuhan region for the Military World Games in mid-October and infected the local population.
However, none of the U.S. service members who made the trip have tested positive.
Chinese respiratory specialist Zhong Nanshan stated at a news conference in February that "though the COVID-19 was first discovered in China, it does not mean that it originated from China."
Last week, Zhao Lijian, the spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, took to Twitter and directly blamed the U.S.
"...When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!" he said.
In retaliation, Trump and a few Republican lawmakers have for days been labelling the coronavirus as the "Chinese virus” or the "Wuhan virus".
"I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning, including my very early decision to close the “borders” from China - against the wishes of almost all. Many lives were saved. The Fake News new narrative is disgraceful & false!," Trump said today.
"I will be having a news conference today to discuss very important news from the FDA concerning the Chinese Virus!," he added.
"For the people that are now out of work because of the important and necessary containment policies, for instance the shutting down of hotels, bars and restaurants, money will soon be coming to you. The onslaught of the Chinese Virus is not your fault! Will be stronger than ever!" Trump went on to say, urging his base to rebrand the coronavirus.