Xi Jinping offers Trump help in fighting coronavirus

March 27, 2020 17:03
A sign at Whitehall Terminal urges ferry riders to practice social distancing while commuting in Manhattan, New York City, on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping told US President Donald Trump during a phone call on Friday that he would have China’s support in fighting the coronavirus, as the United States faces the prospect of becoming the next global epicenter of the pandemic.

The US now has the most coronavirus cases of any country, with 84,946 infections and 1,259 deaths. Hospitals in cities like New York and New Orleans struggle to cope with the wave of patients.

Xi’s offer of assistance came amid a long-running war of words between Beijing and Washington over various issues including the coronavirus epidemic.

Trump and some US officials have accused China of a lack of transparency on the virus, and Trump has at times called the coronavirus a “China virus” as it originated there, angering Beijing.

In the call, Xi reiterated to Trump that China had been open and transparent about the epidemic, according to an account of the conversation published by the Chinese foreign ministry.

Trump said on Twitter that he discussed the coronavirus outbreak “in great detail” with Xi.

“China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the virus,” Trump said. “We are working closely together. Much respect!”

The World Health Organization has said the US, which saw 17,099 new coronavirus cases and 281 deaths in the past 24 hours, is expected to become the epicenter of the pandemic.

Like US hospitals now, China’s medical system struggled to contain the coronavirus just two months ago, but draconian city lockdowns and severe travel restrictions has seen China dramatically ease the epidemic.

Mainland China on Friday reported its first local coronavirus case in three days and 54 new imported cases, as Beijing ordered airlines to sharply cut international flights, for fear travelers could reignite the coronavirus outbreak. Reuters

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