'Mass killings': Trump unleashes on China as global virus numbers take unsettling turn

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

China and America’s ugly war of words over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak has escalated once again, with Donald Trump accusing China of being responsible for a “mass worldwide killing”.

The latest clash came as the World Health Organisation declared the world had experienced its worst day yet in terms of coronavirus cases with 106,000 cases.

The US president’s latest outburst appeared to be in retaliation to comments made by a Chinese spokesperson on Wednesday who lambasted several nations, namely the US, for making “unfounded claims” that the virus came from China.

Guo Weimin, spokesperson for the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, addressed media shortly before Mr Trump’s takedown saying “some politicians from a few countries including the United States will not succeed in their attempt to smear China over COVID-19”.

In what has become trademark for Mr Trump in response to his critics, he appeared to savage Mr Guo on Twitter branding him “some wacko in China” and accused him of deflecting blame from the communist nation for the outbreak.

“Some wacko in China just released a statement blaming everybody other than China for the Virus which has now killed hundreds of thousands of people,” he wrote.

“Please explain to this dope that it was the ‘incompetence of China’, and nothing else, that did this mass worldwide killing!”

Mr Trump has yet to clarify who his comments were triggered by.

Guo Weimin, Vice Minister of the State Council Information Office of China, addresses the media on Wednesday. Source: Getty

It’s the latest fiery exchange involving Mr Trump and Chinese officials, with the two nations embroiled in a bitter dispute – one which Australia has found itself entangled in.

On Tuesday Chinese state-media publication the Global Times, the same outlet whose editor Hu Xijin labelled Australia “chewing gum stuck to the soles of China’s shoes”, published social media comments from Chinese citizens that called Australia a “dog of the US”.

Prior to its reluctant agreement to an investigation into the origins of the virus, China took offence at Australia’s vocal and early calls for an independent probe into COVID-19.

‘Tragic milestone’ looming

Mr Trump’s remarks coincide with the World Health Organisation revealing global daily coronavirus cases had reached record numbers.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has expressed concern about the rising number of new coronavirus cases in poor countries, even as many rich countries have begun emerging from lockdown.

The global health body said on Wednesday that 106,000 new cases of infections of the coronavirus had been recorded in the past 24 hours, the most in a single day since the outbreak began.

"We still have a long way to go in this pandemic," Dr Tedros said in his latest media address.

"We are very concerned about rising cases in low and middle income countries."

Mike Ryan, head of WHO's emergencies program, warned another grim milestone was looming.

"We will soon reach the tragic milestone of 5 million cases,” he said on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning (AEST), the global cases surpassed 5 million, according to Worldometers.

Migrant workers sit together in India. Source: AP

Epidemiologist Professor Raina MacIntyre from the University of NSW told Yahoo News Australia on Wednesday that the virus shows no signs of slowing down globally, with nations that have large, economically-challenged populations in small areas likely to fuel the transmission.

“Countries that are seeing a rising trend need to review each of the pillars of disease control and also look at urban slums in megacities,” she said.

“These could be hot spots for transmission, where social distancing is not possible due to crowded conditions.

“The reported number of cases in many low income countries may be the tip of the iceberg.”

Russia and Brazil are now behind only the United States in the number of reported infections, and cases are also spiking in India, South Africa and Mexico.

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