Trump adviser accuses China of using air travellers to 'seed' coronavirus

18 May 2020, 08:27

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A top White House adviser has accused China of using air travellers to "seed" coronavirus around the world as the Trump administration seeks to blame the country for the pandemic.

The senior administration official used a Sunday morning press conference to hit out at the Chinese government suggesting they intentionally hid information and sent their citizens to other countries to “seed” coronavirus.

While the adviser said that he did not believe the coronavirus pandemic was intentionally released by China, he did point to warnings from the FBI that the Chinese government is hacking intellectual property, saying it was part of its effort to steal vaccines.

“The virus was spawned in Wuhan province, patient zero was in November,” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“The Chinese, behind the shield of the World Health Organization, for two months hid the virus from the world and then sent hundreds of thousands of Chinese on aircraft to Milan, New York and around the world to seed that.”

“They could have kept it in Wuhan,” Navarro said. “Instead, it became a pandemic. That’s why I say the Chinese did that to Americans and they are responsible.”

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Navarro said President Trump is the only one to “stand up to China,” while hitting out at Democratic Presidential Rival Joe Biden, who he claimed has "40 years of sucking up” to the Chinese Government.

Meanwhile, President Trump promised Americans a speedy return to normality that sounded far more optimistic than most experts say is realistic.

"We're looking at vaccines, we're looking at cures and we are very, very far down the line," he said while calling into a charity golf tournament broadcast Sunday on NBC.

With 36 million newly unemployed in the US alone, economic pressures are building even as authorities acknowledge that reopening risks setting off new waves of infections and deaths.

Many states have lifted stay-at-home orders and other restrictions, allowing some types of businesses to reopen.

The coronavirus has infected over 4.7 million people and killed more than 315,000 worldwide, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University that experts say under counts the true toll of the pandemic.

The US has reported over 89,000 dead and Europe has seen at least 160,000 deaths.