China accuses US of sensationalising coronavirus for 'panic'

China accuses US of sensationalising coronavirus for 'panic'
China's government has accused the United States of spreading a racialised panic surrounding the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
2 min read
03 February, 2020
The coronavirus outbreak started in China [Getty]
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.

Read also: No, coronavirus won't turn you into a 'zombie', Malaysia says

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 Organisation 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.

On Saturday, a biotech executive said no manufacturer will have a coronavirus vaccine ready for use before the middle of 2020, despite an intensive global effort.

"The challenge is that it could quickly be given to millions of people. The responsibility for its safety is therefore very important. Even going quickly with technology like mRNA, no manufacturer will be able to have a vaccine ready by the summer, or even by the autumn,” said Stephane Bancel, chief executive of Moderna Therapeutics, one of several entities involved in an all-out international effort to create a vaccine as soon as possible for the deadly SARS-like virus.

"We need approved vaccines so that if there are mutations within a strain of virus, we can produce vaccines in large quantities within a few months.”

So far, the majority of the victims of the virus have been elderly individuals with pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes and liver cirrhosis.

The virus has already confirmed cases across the world, including China, Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Macau, Nepal, The Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Canada, US, Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Spain and the United Arab Emirates.

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