In a Fox television interview, Trump claimed that the US had suppressed the deadly coronavirus in the US. His comments ran in stark contrast to the unfolding narrative in China, where more than 300 people have died as a result of the virus, with tens of thousands more infected.
Trump said: “We’re gonna see what happens, but we did shut it down, yes.”
Last week, the US reported its first documented case of coronavirus, a US resident who arrived in Seattle from China.
It spurred the Trump administration to declare a public health emergency and bar entry to foreign nationals who have recently visited China.
Under new restrictions that come into force from 5pm EST (10pm GMT) yesterday, US citizens who have travelled in China within 14 days will be redirected to one of seven airports specially adapted for screening.
In the same interview, Trump said: “We can’t have thousands of people coming in who may have this problem – the coronavirus.”
He added that the US had offered China “tremendous help” in dealing with the epidemic.
Yet, the apparent has, according the US government sources, been rejected.
Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien said that although China has been more open to about the coronavirus in comparison to previous health crises, it had not yet accepted assistance from the US.
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“This is a worldwide concern.
“We want to help our Chinese colleagues if we can and we’ve made the offer and we’ll see if they accept the offer.”
CDC officials have not yet been invited to China, but have currently set up in neighbouring Kazakhstan to help guard against the spread of the virus, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said yesterday during a visit there.
There, he said: “You’ve got a long border with China which is where this disease has emanated from.
“And we’ve got our people from the Centre for Disease Control right here on the ground, helping Kazakhstan deal with this so that you don’t have an enormous outbreak.”
Yesterday, China’s National Health Commission said the coronavirus has killed 302 people in China, while infections jumped to 14,380 as of Saturday.
At least 171 cases have been reported in more than two dozen other countries and regions, including the US, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong and Britain.