Xi speaks with Trump over NCoV outbreak

Chinese President Xi Jinping

Beijing,  Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke with his American counterpart President Donald Trump on the phone on Friday, urging the US side to respond reasonably to the novel coronavirus outbreak that has so far killed 636 in the Asian giant.

Noting that China’s prevention and control efforts were gradually yielding positive results, Xi stressed that his country has full confidence and capability to prevail over the epidemic, reports Xinhua news agency.

China hopes that the US will assess the epidemic in a calm manner, and adopt and adjust its response measures in a reasonable way, Xi said, adding that the two sides can maintain communication, strengthen coordination and work together to contain the epidemic.

As of Thursday, there were a total of 12 coronavirus cases in the US.

The 12th and latest case in the US comes from Wisconsin. The patient is a woman who travelled to Beijing and “interacted with family members who had coronavirus”, Nancy Messonnier, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters on Thursday.

Messonnier added that all the US patients were “clinically improving”.

Xi and Trump’s call came after Chinese government on Monday accused the US of causing “panic” in its response to the outbreak.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the US actions “could only create and spread fear”, the BBC reported.

Hua accused the US of spreading fear instead of offering assistance, saying it was the first country to impose a travel ban on Chinese travellers and also the first to suggest a partial withdrawal of its embassy staff.

On January 23, the US ordered the departure of all non-emergency US personnel and their family members from Hubei province’s capital city Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, the BBC report said.

Less than a week later, it allowed for the voluntary departure of non-emergency personnel and relatives of US government employees from China.

On January 30, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak as a global health emergency, after which the US ordered the departure of all US personnel family members under the age of 21 in China.

Any US citizen who has been in Hubei province will be subject to 14 days’ quarantine upon returning to the US.