The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday accused the U.S. of stirring up panic in its response to the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus.
The U.S. has “unceasingly manufactured and spread panic,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said. “It is precisely developed countries like the United States with strong epidemic prevention capabilities and facilities that have taken the lead in imposing excessive restrictions contrary to [World Health Organization] recommendations.”
The WHO has advised against imposing travel restrictions despite declaring the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency.
“So far, the US government has yet to provide any substantial assistance to China,” Hua asserted. U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien said on Monday that China had not yet accepted U.S. offers of assistance.
There are over 17,000 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Monday, the vast majority in mainland China. Over 360 people have died from the virus, one of those cases outside China, in the Philippines
On Friday the Trump administration announced it would bar foreigners who recently visited China from entering the U.S. to prevent the spread of the virus. Earlier the same day, Delta and American Airlines announced they would suspend all flights between the U.S. and China, while the State Department issued its highest-level travel advisory for China, warning American citizens not to visit.
“By imposing temporary travel restrictions on China, the president has taken decisive action to protect Americans against the Wuhan coronavirus. I commend the administration for taking the situation seriously and erring on the side of caution,” Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) wrote on Twitter in response to the Trump administration’s actions.