Headlines April 23, 2020
US state of Missouri sues China’s leaders over COVID-19
The state of Missouri in the United States has sued China’s leadership over the COVID-19 coronavirus. It has sought damages over what it describes as deliberate deception and insufficient action to stop the pandemic.
This is the first-of-a-kind state lawsuit that comes amidst calls in the United States to punish China and a campaign by US President Donald Trump to focus on China’s role. Trump himself has been slammed for handling the crisis badly.
Missouri, which is led by Trump’s Republican Party, filed a lawsuit seeking an unspecified amount in damages and an injunction on continuing actions by China that are alleged to include hoarding of protective equipment.
“The Chinese government lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19, silenced whistleblowers and did little to stop the spread of the disease,” said Eric Schmitt, Missouri Attorney General. “They must be held accountable for their actions”.
The lawsuit has accused the Chinese Communist Party of being in “knowing, wilful and in reckless disregard of the rights of the state and its residents.” It points to the early suppression of news of the virus when it broke out in Wuhan, by local authorities. It also noted that China initially said there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission.
Despite Trump’s heavy criticism of China, his administration has been slow in taking action against China as the country is a major source of masks and other medical supplies that are desperately needed by the United States.