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The New Arab

Pro-Trump lawmaker launches bill allowing coronavirus victims to sue China

The lawmaker is a Trump supporter [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 April, 2020

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A pro-Trump lawmaker has proposed a bill that would allow those who have contracted coronavirus to sue China, echoing the president's xenophobic sentiments.
An Illinois lawmaker wants to introduce a bill that would give coronavirus sufferers the right to sue for damages incurred from the virus, as Donald Trump reveals his government is investigating if the virus came from a lab in Wuhan.

Assistant Republican Leader C.D Davidsmeyer introduced two House Resolutions that would remove China's sovereign immunity and compel China to pay damages to the State of Illinois for damages.

Davidsmeyer is calling for Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul to start litigation against China.

"The Covid-19 coronavirus should have been contained at its outset in China," Rep. Davidsmeyer said.

"Unfortunately, it wasn't and now the entire world is suffering from this pandemic. We are learning more and more every day that the communist regime in China actively worked to conceal how easily this deadly virus was spreading amongst its population."

Davidsmeyer is using a Bloomberg report which claimed the US intelligence community found that "China has concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak in its country, under-reporting both total cases and deaths it's suffered from the disease".

More than 7,695 Illinois residents have tested positive for Covid-19 and 157 have died.

Critics have slammed President Donald Trump's rhetoric about Covid-19 as racist.

Trump has courted controversy in the past by referring to coronavirus as a "Chinese virus".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Beijing "needs to come clean" on what they know about Covid-19, casting doubt on the information that has so far emerged from the Asian country.

Pompeo, in a Fox News Channel interview after Trump's news conference, said "we know this virus originated in Wuhan, China," and that the Institute of Virology is only a handful of miles away from the wet market.

"We really need the Chinese government to open up" and help explain "exactly how this virus spread", said Pompeo.

"The Chinese government needs to come clean," he said.

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Tuesday that US intelligence indicates the coronavirus likely occurred naturally and was not created in a laboratory in China, but that hypothesis is not certain.

When asked about reports that the virus had escaped from a lab in Wuhan, Trump said he was aware of them.

"We are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation that happened," he told reporters at a White House news conference.

Asked if he had raised the subject in his conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump said: "I don't want to discuss what I talked to him about the laboratory, I just don't want to discuss, it's inappropriate right now."

The broad scientific consensus is that Covid-19 originated from bats.

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