China accuses U.S. of whipping up 'panic' over new virus

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on February 3, 2020 - Duration: 02:12s

China accuses U.S. of whipping up 'panic' over new virus

China on Monday accused the United States of whipping up panic over the fast-spreading coronavirus with travel restrictions and evacuations, as Chinese stocks closed down almost 8% on the first day back from the extended Lunar New Year holiday.

Chris Dignam has more.

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China accuses U.S. of whipping up 'panic' over new virus

The new virus, which emerged in Wuhan, China, has killed more than 360 people, and the number of new confirmed infections climbed to more than 17,000.

The flu-like virus has been reported in 23 other countries, including the United States, where an 11th case was reported on Sunday.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the U.S. has "unceasingly manufactured and spread panic" by pulling its nationals out and restricting travel instead of offering significant aid, noting that the World Health Organization had advised against trade and travel bans.

Relations between the United States and China had just begun to recover after a long and bruising trade war.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S., which flew people out of Wuhan last week, is planning more flights out of the region.

(SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, MIKE POMPEO, SAYING:"Yes, we have a handful more flights that will be heading to China to bring Americans back home from from from Hubei Province.

The exact timing of those, we're still coordinating with the Chinese government.

We anticipate that they will happen in the next handful of days and we'll return those American citizens.

We may well end up bringing some citizens back from, from other countries as well." Australia evacuated 243 people from Wuhan on Monday and will quarantine them on a remote island.

On Saturday it followed the United States in barring entry to all foreign nationals traveling from mainland China.

But China itself has taken some of the most extreme measures to contain the virus, as Wuhan and some other cities in China remain in virtual lockdown with travel severely restricted.

Meanwhile, Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, rocked by months of sometimes violent anti-China protests, announced on Monday the closure of four more border crossings with mainland China, leaving just three open... (SOUND BITE) (English) HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE CARRIE LAM, SAYING: "We will continue to monitor the situation..." ... but leader Carrie Lam stopped short of demands for the entire border to be closed.

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