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Coronavirus: US and China must work together to stop Covid-19, Xi tells Trump

Chinese president insists country has been ‘open and transparent’ about epidemic

Conrad Duncan
Friday 27 March 2020 11:45 GMT
Trump defends using name 'Chinese virus': It's not racist - it comes from China'

Chinese president Xi Jinping has told Donald Trump that the US and China must work together to stop Covid-19 as America faces the prospect of becoming the next global epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Xi said China would be willing to offer support to the US, which now has most confirmed Covid-19 cases in the world, and insisted his country had been “open and transparent” about its epidemic, according to a report by Chinese state media.

He also urged Mr Trump to improve China-US relations after the US president angered officials in Beijing by referring to coronavirus as the “China virus” because it was first identified there.

Soon after the phone call, Mr Trump said he had “a very good conversation” with the Chinese president.

“Discussed in great detail the CoronaVirus that is ravaging large parts of our Planet,” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.

“China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!” he added.

Mr Trump also suggested on Thursday that he pushed back his call with the Chinese president from 9pm to 10:30pm so he could speak to Fox NewsSean Hannity live on air first.

He told Mr Hannity: “Well because of you I made it a 10:30 … that just shows when you have the number one rated show in television, I better change things around.”

The US had reported more than 85,000 coronavirus infections and nearly 1,300 deaths as of Friday morning, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre.

Hospitals in major cities such as New York and New Orleans have already warned they are struggling to cope with the surge in patients.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has said the US is expected to become the next epicentre of the pandemic, which has already moved from China to Europe, due to its rapidly growing number of cases.

China managed to slow its outbreak by introducing draconian city lockdowns and severe travel restriction which have damaged its economy.

On Friday, mainland China reported its first local coronavirus case in three days and 54 new imported cases, as officials ordered airlines to sharply cut international flights to prevent foreign travellers reigniting the country’s outbreak.

However, Mr Trump has been reluctant to introduce such measures and said he wanted “large sections of the country” to reopen for Easter, going against advice from his own health experts.

The president suggested on Wednesday that the “LameStream Media” was trying to convince him to keep the country on lockdown to hurt his re-election chances.

“The real people want to get back to work ASAP,” Mr Trump claimed.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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