Donald Trump eyes probe on Covid-19 outbreak origin in China, wants to send a team - world news

President Donald Trump on Sunday said he has wanted to send a team to China to investigate the start of the coronavirus outbreak that had killed more that 40,000 Americans till Monday and shut down the country with increasingly unpopular stay-at-home orders, but without any success yet.

“We’re talking to China. We spoke to them a long time ago about going in. We want to go in; we want to see what’s going on,” President Trump told reporters at the daily briefing by the White House task force on the coronavirus outbreak. “And we weren’t exactly invited, I can tell you that.”

Trump has escalated calls in recent days for increased scrutiny of China’s version of the start of the outbreak — from a wet market in Wuhan, as China has claimed and maintained — to the true magnitude of its outbreak, which is suspected to be grossly under-reported.

There are news reports in US media that the outbreak may have started at a virology lab in Wuhan. There has been no official confirmation of it, or denial. Fox News has reported that US intelligence is investigating this version of the origin of the outbreak and is to give the president a report shortly.

US toll of coronavirus fatalities went up by 1,997 to 40,683 Monday morning and the number of confirmed infections by 26,889 to 759,786. New York state accounted for nearly half the deaths as the continuing epicenter of the American outbreak with 18,298; 14,451 in New York city alone.

But hospitalization numbers have dropped in the state and other hotspots like New Jersey, Michigan, Louisiana and Illinois have shown signs of improvements which has given authorities the confidence to start reopening the country, and lifting stay-at-home orders, that are being protested across the country.

Stay-at-home protests took place Sunday in Florida, Colorado, Illinois, Tennessee and Washington, following up similar protest in Maryland, New York, Michigan, California, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah and Virginia. They are demanding the removal of restrictions.

Trump has backed them and there is a growing consensus around reopening the country. Most states agree, but insist they must be careful otherwise there could be a resurgence of cases.

State governors have sought more testing kits for an enhanced surveillance system before they begin easing restrictions and have sought federal government’s help, triggering a clash with the president, who have maintained it’s for states to ensure they have enough testing kits, and has called for governors to do their bit.

“To say that the governors have plenty of testing and they should just get to work on testing, somehow we aren’t doing our job, is just absolutely false,” Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland and chair of the governor’s association, said to CNN Sunday. Trump has not backed out of the ongoing confrontation, but has said he will help them.

2020-04-20 03:50:39
April 20, 2020