US, China and Russia blame each other for COVID-19 responsibility

Un Covid 2 (2)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — China, Russia and the United States clashed this week  at the United Nations over responsibility for the coronavirus pandemic.

They traded allegations about who mishandled and politicized the virus in one of the few real-time exchanges among top officials at this year’s COVID-distanced U.N. General Assembly meeting.

For his part, President Donald Trump once again sought to blame China for the COVID-19 pandemic and called on Beijing to be punished for its handling of the disease, which has killed nearly 1 million people worldwide – a fifth of them in the United States.

Trump, who delivered a video address from the White House to a sparsely occupied hall of mask-wearing delegates at U.N. headquarters in New York, used his typical label for the disease as the “China virus.” He implied that Beijing and the World Health Organization had worked in tandem to cover up the danger of the pandemic.

“In the earliest days of the virus, China locked down travel domestically while allowing flights to leave China and infect the world,” the president said. “China condemned my travel ban on their country, even as they canceled domestic flights and locked citizens in their homes.”

He added, “The Chinese government and the World Health Organization, which is virtually controlled by China, falsely declared that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission. Later, they falsely said people without symptoms would not spread the disease.”

The sharp exchanges reflect the deep divisions among the three veto-wielding council members. Those disputes have escalated since the virus first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The remarks at the U.N. Security Council came just after U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticized the lack of international cooperation in tackling the “out-of-control” coronavirus.