U.S. President Donald Trump leads a coronavirus response news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 27, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that China could have stopped the coronavirus before it swept the globe and said his administration was conducting “serious investigations” into what happened.
“We’re doing very serious investigations … We are not happy with China,” Trump said at a White House news conference. “There are a lot of ways you can hold them accountable.”
“We believe it could have been stopped at the source. It could have been stopped quickly and it wouldn’t have spread all over the world.”
Trump’s criticism was the latest from his administration to target China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which began late last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has grown into a global pandemic which .
The pandemic has killed more than 207,000 people around the world, including more than 55,000 in the United States, according to a Reuters tally.
Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States “strongly believed” Beijing failed to report the outbreak in a timely manner and covered up how dangerous the respiratory illness caused by the virus was.
China’s foreign ministry denied the allegations.
Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Chris Reese and Sonya Hepinstall