China says US reaction to virus spreads ‘panic’

China says US reaction to virus spreads ‘panic’

China accused the United States on Monday of spreading “panic” in its response to the deadly coronavirus, including imposing a ban on Chinese travellers.

The US “hasn’t provided any substantial assistance” and has only created “panic”, said foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a regular press briefing.

Washington on Friday declared a public health emergency and temporarily banned the entry of foreign nationals who have travelled to China over the past two weeks, to contain the spread of the outbreak.

Sweeping new restrictions will also be imposed on American citizens, with those returning from the province at the disease’s epicentre placed in facilities for a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

There have been eight confirmed US cases of the new coronavirus, which originated in a live seafood market in Wuhan, in China’s Hubei province.

The virus has since spread to more than 24 countries, despite many governments imposing unprecedented travel bans on people coming from China.

The World Health Organization has already declared the outbreak a global emergency, and the Chinese death toll has risen to 362 while total infections reached over 17,000, surpassing the SARS epidemic of two decades ago.

On Sunday the first foreign death from the virus was reported in the Philippines.


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