Emmanuel Yashim/ Oluwabukola Akanni
Beijing, March 27, 2020
U.S. President Donald Trump says the United States and China are “working closely together” to fight the coronavirus pandemic after a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday.
Trump tweeted that he and Xi had “a very good conversation” and discussed “in great detail the Coronavirus that is ravaging large parts of our Planet.”
“China has been through much and has developed a strong understanding of the Virus.
“We are working closely together. Much respect!” Trump said.
Trump, who had until recently insisted on calling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus,” said earlier on Thursday that “you don’t know what the (coronavirus) numbers are in China.”
“You’re not able to tell what China is testing or not testing,” Trump said during a news conference before the phone call.
The U.S. on Thursday surpassed China and Italy to lead the world in reported coronavirus cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University researchers.
U.S. cases topped 83,000, followed by China at more than 81,000, and Italy at more than 80,000.
The new numbers came as coronavirus hotspots appeared to be emerging outside New York state, the current epicentre of the outbreak.
Xi said China had been sharing information and experience with the international community about the coronavirus and would continue to do so in the joint fight against the pandemic, according to state media.
“Only when the international community responds together can it (the virus) be defeated,” Xi said, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
Xi added that Chinese provinces, cities, and enterprises were providing medical assistance to the U.S.
“China understands the current difficult situation of the United States and is willing to provide support within its capacity,” he said.
Trump said, according to CCTV, that he was grateful to China for providing medical supplies to the U.S. and for strengthening medical exchanges.
He said that China’s experience with the virus was “enlightening” to him.
The leaders’ call came after two extraordinary sessions of the G20 and G7 groups of countries in the past few days focused on the response to the pandemic.
The G7 foreign ministers’ meeting on Wednesday failed to agree on a joint statement after the U.S. insisted that it include the term “Wuhan virus,” according to U.S. media reports.
Meanwhile, China on Thursday announced it would suspend the entry of foreign nationals in an effort to curb the number of imported coronavirus cases.
Beijing also announced it would severely limit both outbound and inbound international flights.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Thursday evening reported additional 14 new cases.
The NCDC on its official Twitter page, @NCDCgov, said that the confirmed cases were recorded in Lagos, Bauchi and the FCT.
“Fourteen new cases of #COVID19 have been confirmed in Nigeria: 1 in FCT, 1 in Bauchi and 12 in Lagos.
“Of the 14, 6 were detected on a vessel, 3 are returning travellers and 2 are close contacts of confirmed cases,” the agency tweeted.