Donald Trump has caused outrage in China after referring to the coronavirus as “the Chinese virus” on Twitter.
The comments on social media first came after the US President had given a presidential address, warning of a possible recession.
Donald Trump tweeted to his 74 million followers that “the United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus.”
Trump later repeated his comments in response to criticism from the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo.
“Cuomo wants “all states to be treated the same.” But all states aren’t the same. Some are being hit hard by the Chinese Virus, some are being hit practically not at all.”
The US President has previously retweeted a supporter who called COVID-19 a “China virus”.
Donald Trump was questioned on his choice of language at a press conference on Wednesday.
The World Health Organization and Centre for Disease Prevention and Control have both advised against using terms that link China or the city of Wuhan to the virus, to avoid discrimination.
Trump’s comments have received widespread condemnation from the scientific community and are likely to increase tensions between the world’s two biggest economies during the pandemic.
A former US physician, Eugene Gu, said on Twitter that the US President’s comments were "beyond reprehensible".
Meanwhile the Vice-President of the European Commission responded by tweeting that "viruses don’t have a nationality and they don’t care about borders."
At a press briefing on Tuesday, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang said that the tweets smeared Beijing, according to state media.
"We urge the US to immediately correct its mistakes and stop making groundless accusations against China."
Geng added that it is a matter of urgency that the international community makes co-operative, concerted efforts against the spread of Coronavirus.
The state-run Global Times posted on Twitter, which is blocked in China, that Trump was trying to “pass the buck”.
Meanwhile an opinion post published on the Facebook page of The People’s Daily, China described Trump’s tweet as “making China a punching bag”.
Hours before Trump's tweet, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had instructed top Chinese officials not to “shift the blame” for the Coronavirus.
Last week, an official from China’s ministry of foreign affairs had accused the US military of bringing the virus to Wuhan.
Amnesty International have commented that Coronavirus “is not a Chinese virus or an American virus. It’s a global pandemic”.
“Leaders have to lead [and] protect all people.”