China accuses US of causing coronavirus panic, fear



The Chinese government on Monday accused the US of causing "panic" in its response to the coronavirus outbreak, after the latter declared a public health emergency, saying it would deny entry to foreign nationals who had visited the Asian giant in the past two weeks.

Addressing the media here, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the US actions "could only create and spread fear", the BBC reported.

Hua accused the US of spreading fear instead of offering assistance, saying it was the first country to impose a travel ban on Chinese travellers and also the first to suggest a partial withdrawal of its embassy staff.

On January 23, the US ordered the departure of all non-emergency US personnel and their family members from Hubei province's capital city Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, the BBC report said.

Less than a week later, it allowed for the voluntary departure of non-emergency personnel and relatives of US government employees from China.

On January 30, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak as a global health emergency, after which the US ordered the departure of all US personnel family members under the age of 21 in China.

Any US citizen who has been in Hubei province will be subject to 14 days' quarantine upon returning to the US.

The US has so far confirmed eight cases of the coronavirus in the country.

As of Monday, the toll due to the fast-spreading deadly coronavirus increased to 361, with 17,205 infected cases in China alone.

On Sunday, the Philippines confirmed the country's first death from the novel coronavirus, making it the first nation outside China to report a fatality.

The other countries were confirmed coronavirus cases have been reported are Japan (20), Thailand (19), Singapore (18), South Korea (15), Hong Kong (15), Australia (12), Taiwan (11), Malaysia (eight), Germany (eight), Macao (eight), Vietnam (seven), France (six), UAE (five), Canada (two), Italy (two), the UK (two), India (two), Philippines (two), Russia (two), Cambodia (one), Finland (one), Nepal (one), Sri Lanka (one), Spain (one) and Sweden (one).IANS