The United States on Friday slammed China for the "delay" in sharing information with its technical experts on the deadly coronavirus.
"We need to know immediately. The world is entitled to know. The Chinese government was the first to know of this risk to the world, and that puts a special obligation to make sure that data gets to our scientists, our professionals," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters at a White House news conference here.
"When you see a delay in information flowing from the Chinese Communist Party to the technical people who we wanted to get into China immediately to assist in this, every moment of delay connected to being able to identify this risk vectors creates risk to the people all around the world," he said.
Pompeo said it was not about blaming someone.
"This is about moving forward to make sure that we continue to have the information we need to do our jobs," he said.
"We need to make sure that even today the data sets that are available to every country, including data sets that are available to the Chinese Communist Party, or made available to the whole world. It's an imperative to keep people safe," Pompeo said.
"We talk about the absence of data sets, not being able to make judgments about what to do. This is also about transparency, this real-time information sharing isn't about political games or retribution. It's about keeping people safe," he insisted.
US Health Secretary Alex Azar told the reporters that China informed the US about the coronavirus in January.
"In January within two weeks of China's notifying WHO about the virus and with only 45 cases in China we began screening travellers from Wuhan. Then over time as the outbreak evolved the President restricted travel from China, Iran and Europe. Our health experts say that these measures have been truly effective at slowing the viruses spread to our shores," Azar said.
President Donald Trump told reporters that he has a good relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
"I have a very good relationship with China and with President Xi. I have great respect for President Xi. I consider him to be a friend of mine. It is unfortunate that this got out of control," he said.
The coronavirus, he reiterated, came from China.
"They came from China, it got out of control. Some people are upset. I know -- I know President Xi. He loves China. He respects the United States and I have to say I respect China greatly and I respect President Xi," Trump said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)