Washington: The lethal coronavirus originated from China and the US will not take it lightly, reiterated President Donald Trump Thursday.
“It came from China. We ‘re not happy about it. We’ve just signed a trade deal; the ink wasn’t dry and it all of a sudden floated in. We ‘re not going to take it lightly, Trump said at a hearing session with African-American leaders in Michigan.
Trump has been very critical of China’s inability to control the spread of the novel coronavirus within its territory over the last several weeks. By Thursday, more than 94,000 Americans have died as a result of the coronavirus and more than 1.6 million have tested positive.
He has so far not given any indication of the steps that he is contemplating taking against China. Meanwhile, the pressure is building on his administration, mainly from the Republican lawmakers on this.
Senators Ted Cruz and Rick Scott introduced the COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Act on Thursday along with Mike Braun, Marsha Blackburn, Joni Ernst, Martha McSally and Tom Cotton, to prevent the Chinese Communist Party from stealing or sabotaging American COVID-19 vaccine research.
The bill needs a comprehensive review of national security and screening of all Chinese student visa holders engaging in activities related to COVID-19 vaccine work by the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“The same Communist Party in China that covered up the coronavirus outbreak also systematically engages in state-sponsored intellectual property theft,” Cruz said. “We can not let China steal or interfere with American vaccine research and development,” he said.
“Communist China is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic and it costs American lives for their propaganda and disinformation,” Scott said.
“We can not allow Communist China to break the hook for this, and we can not allow Communist China to steal or sabotage any American Coronavirus vaccine-related research efforts. The COVID-19 Vaccine Protection Act protects American efforts to create a vaccine as we work to end this pandemic,” he added.
The COVID-19 Vaccine Protection Act, among others requires an enhanced vetting of nationals of the Chinese nationals in the US as non-immigrants under F, J, or M student visas to determine if any student visa holders are a national security threat.
Once the review is complete, authorizes Department of Homeland Secretary, in consultation with other agencies, to continuously monitor all non-immigrant student visa holders (F, M, J) who are Chinese nationals while in the US and are engaged in, or have access to, the research of any potential COVID-19 vaccine or COVID-19 related material.
Republican Whip and Ranking Member of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Steve Scalise alleged that China lied to the world on coronavirus.
“China withheld proof of the virus during a crucial time in December and January: data suggesting human-to – human transmission of the virus, proof of the severity of the spread. China denied entry for weeks by American and other medical experts from around the world, he said.
“And during this time , China stored medical supplies such as masks, gowns and other life-saving PPE. During this period, the Chinese Communist Party stifled Chinese exports of surgical masks, gowns and gloves. China knew the danger posed by the virus, and although hiding the reality, it took the time to stock up on essential medical supplies,” Scalise said.