US President Donald Trump unleashed a scathing attack on China on Saturday, saying the Asian nation would face consequences if it was "knowingly responsible" for the coronavirus pandemic.
"If it was a mistake, a mistake is a mistake", Trump said. "But if they were knowingly responsible, yeah, I mean, then sure there should be consequences", he added, South China Morning Post reported.
"Would you be angry at China? Well the answer might very well be a very resounding yes but it depends. Was it a mistake that got out of control. Or was it done deliberately", he added further.
With 39,015 fatalities, United States has the highest number of coronavirus deaths in the world. "On a per capita basis...our mortality rate is far lower than other nations of western Europe", Trump said. "Spain for example has the mortality rate four times that of the United States, but you don't hear that. You hear we've more death".
"But we're much bigger country than any of those", he continued. "So when the fake news gets out there and they start talking about the United States is more, but we're not number one. China is number one, just so you understand".
Trump went on, criticizing China for its lack of transparency. "It could've been stopped in China, could've been stopped before it started, and it wasn't, and the whole world is suffering because of it", he said.
Asked about the Wuhan Virology lab and the claim that the novel coronavirus' origin could be traced to it, Trump said, "We're looking at that very closely".
Although China has come under fire for its initial coronavirus cover-up, Trump had repeatedly praised it throughout January and February for its response to handle the virus outbreak.
"China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency", he tweeted on Jan. 25.
Again on February 7, in a series of tweets, he praised Chinese President Xi Jinping in his handling of the outbreak.
At a press briefing in February, he praised his Chinese counterpart.
With the number of novel coronavirius cases and fatalities piling up in the United States, the US President is being widely accused of down-playing its threats, all through January and February. As on Sunday (April 19), the country has witnessed 738,913 Covid-19 cases and 39,015.