G-7 countries fail to reach agreement because US insists on saying 'Wuhan virus' for coronavirus
- The Group of Seven (G-7) countries failed to agree on a joint declaration due to a dispute on what to call the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to German magazine Der Spiegel.
- President Donald Trump and congressional leaders have described the coronavirus - which was confirmed to have been found in 170 countries - as the "Chinese virus" or the Wuhan virus."
- "It's not racist at all," Trump said last week. "It comes from China, that's why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate."
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The Group of Seven (G-7) countries failed to agree on a joint declaration due to disputes on what to call the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to German magazine Der Spiegel.
However, the US State Department, led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during preliminary discussions insisted on describing the novel coronavirus as the "Wuhan virus" - its suspected place of origin in China, according to Der Spiegel. The differences between the other G-7 countries and the US reportedly proved to be a road block in issuing a joint declaration.
The upcoming meeting of industrialized nations, which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, and the US, was supposed to meet in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in late March, but is expected to be conducted via teleconference due to the coronavirus.
President Donald Trump and congressional leaders have described the coronavirus - which was confirmed to have been found in 170 countries - as the "Chinese virus" or the "Wuhan virus." The leaders also argue that the Chinese government had a documented history of downplaying the virus and obfuscating information before it spread beyond its borders and affected other nations.
"This is the Wuhan coronavirus," Pompeo said earlier in March. "It has proven incredibly frustrating to work with the Chinese Communist Party."
Asked about his description of the virus, Trump did not believe it had racist undertones.
"It's not racist at all," Trump said last week. "It comes from China, that's why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate."
Critics have argued that characterizing the virus by its country of origin fueled xenophobic attitudes. Other diseases, including the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus first found in the US - more commonly known as the "Swine Flu" - is not referred to by the country of origin.
The World Health Organization urged people to be "careful" in labeling the coronavirus and noted that, "Viruses know no borders and they don't care about your ethnicity."
The remarks come as numerous hate crimes have been reported by people of Asian heritage around the world. The Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and the San Francisco State University have since created a website for people to report discriminatory behavior.
Trump on Monday said the Asian-American community ought to be "totally" protected" in light of xenophobic attacks during the coronavirus pandemic, including being targets of "nasty language."
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