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Friday, 14 February 2020 14:54

Exclusive: Senior China diplomat concedes challenge of coronavirus, slams 'overreaction'

Written by Reuters
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BERLIN (Reuters) - A top Chinese official acknowledged on Friday that coronavirus is a deep challenge to the country, but defended Beijing’s management of the epidemic while lashing out at the “overreaction” of other countries.

In a wide-ranging interview with Reuters, State Councillor Wang Yi, who also serves as China’s foreign minister, urged the United States not to take unnecessary virus-response measures that could hamper trade, travel and tourism.

The Chinese mainland has reported more than 63,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, with over 1,300 fatalities.

The United States and other nations have taken drastic measures to curb the virus’ spread since January. Some countries have halted entry to foreign nationals. Commercial flights have been curtailed, and many nations have sent charter flights to repatriate citizens from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the outbreak.

The United States also warned Americans not to travel to China, angering Beijing just as it started to mend tattered trade ties with Washington.

Wang said China has taken the most rigorous and decisive measures to fight against the epidemic, with many measures going beyond international health regulations and WHO recommendations.

“Through our efforts the epidemic is overall under control,” he said.

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