China says US didn't help fight coronavirus but stoked panic instead

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson says Washington "hasn't provided any substantial assistance.

China has responded to the United States' veiled allegation that Beijing turned down its offer off help in fighting the coronavirus. A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said on Monday that the US hasn't helped but rather fanned fears in the wake of the virus infection that has killed more than 360 people. On Sunday, US President Donald Trump and the National Security Adviser alleged that they were yet to hear from China about the offer of help.

Signalling continued US-China sabre ratling over coronavirus contingency plans, the foreign ministry official said the US ban on Chinese travellers would only worsen panic. The spokesperson also said Washington "hasn't provided any substantial assistance".

Coronavirus Update 3 Feb
Coronavirus status as of 3 February, 2020 GISAID

The Chinese reaction came after Trump apparently bragged about the his government's efforts in handling the virus scare. "Well, we've pretty much shut it down, coming in from China", Trump said referring to the new travel restrictions on the Chinese. "We have a tremendous relationship with China. We're offering 'em tremendous help ... But we can't have thousands of people coming in who may have this problem, the coronavirus. So, we're gonna see what happens", the president added.

The coronavirus, which broke out in a meat and seafood market in Wuhan, has killed more than 360 people and infected nearly 17,000 people at the last count. On Thursday, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus crisis a global health emergency. Wuhan, the epicentre of the infection, has been creaking under the unprecedented medical emergency. There have been long queues for supplies as well as medical help and several videos showed the sick and the dead lying about on the streets.

Coronavirus outbreak in China (Representational picture) Pixabay

The New York Times reported that in some worst-hit regions even the medical staff are working without basic bodysuits. The report said doctors in Huanggang, a city near Wuhan, were spotted wearing raincoats and garbage bags to protect themselves from the virus.

As the impact from the wave of virus infections grew China sought the European Union's help in procuring emergency supplies. On Saturday, China's Prime Minister Li Keqiang asked the European Union to help arrange medical supplies from member countries. The move came after data showed the death from the virus spiked on Friday, hitting a record daily rise.

Related topics : Coronavirus