President Donald Trump has said the US will bill China a substantial amount for damages caused by the coronavirus.
Trump was asked whether he was considering seeking money from the country after a German newspaper published details of a $160billion invoice for the impact shutdowns have had on the economy following the spread from Wuhan to Europe.
Trump claimed he had a ‘much easier’ idea and claimed he was planning on obtaining much more than what the Germans were suggesting.
‘We have ways of doing things a lot easier than that,’ Trump told a coronavirus press briefing Monday in Washington DC. ‘Germany’s looking at things, and we’re looking at things, and we’re talking about a lot more money than Germany’s talking about.
‘We haven’t determined the final amount yet. It’s very substantial,’ Trump added.
Coronavirus cases surpassed 1 million in the US on Monday and deaths were more than 56,000.
Trump spoke from the Rose Garden at the White House addressing the damaged the outbreak has done to the US and the rest of the world.
Despite bragging about his great relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, during the pandemic, on Monday he hinted at possible sanctions.
‘There are a lot of ways you can hold them accountable,’ Trump told the briefing.
‘We’re doing very serious investigations, as you probably know. And we are not happy with China. We are not happy with that whole situation.
‘Because 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.’
Coronavirus broke out in Wuhan in November and critics have claimed the country played down the number of people infected. Europe became the new epicentre of the virus and as cases began to slow the United States took over with the highest infection rate and deaths anywhere in the world.
Unemployment rates are at a historic high and the economy has taken a massive hit.
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.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Twitter on Monday Pompeo should ‘stop playing the political game. Better save energy on saving lives.’
The coronavirus outbreak has killed more than 207,000 people around the world.
Earlier on Monday, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro accused China of sending low-quality and even counterfeit coronavirus antibody testing kits to the United States and of ‘profiteering’ from the pandemic.
Navarro, an outspoken critic of Beijing whom Trump has appointed to work on supply-line issues relating to the health crisis, said more testing both for the virus and antibodies was vital to getting Americans currently in lockdown back to work.
‘That’s where, perhaps, we can find people who are immune, that can be in the workplace in a more safe environment. But we can’t have China, for example, bringing in those fake tests and counterfeit tests, because that’s going to be very disruptive,’ Navarro said in an interview on Fox News.
‘There’s a lot of these antibody tests coming in from China now that are low quality, false readings and things like that,’ he said.