Foreign leaders from the Group of Seven (G-7) countries failed to agree on a joint declaration on COVID-19 due to disputes on what to call the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to German magazine Der Spiegel.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has reportedly pressed G7 leaders to refer to the novel coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus,” in an official document.
When asked about the report at a media availability teleconference, Pompeo, who repeatedly referred to the coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus,” did not deny the reports.
“We’ve wanted to work with the Chinese Communist Party throughout this crisis — this crisis that began in Wuhan, China,” Pompeo said. “We tried, you’ll remember, from the opening days to get our scientists, our experts on the ground there so that we could begin to assist in the global response to what began there in China, but we weren’t able to do that. The Chinese Communist Party wouldn’t permit that to happen.”
“The Chinese Communist Party poses a substantial threat to our health and way of life, as the Wuhan virus outbreak clearly has demonstrated,” Pompeo added.
President Donald Trump and congressional leaders have described the coronavirus — which has already killed over 20,000 people globally — as the “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan virus,” despite critics noting that such rhetoric could be correlated with a rise in targeted violence against Asian Americans.
Asked about his description of the virus, Trump did not believe it had racist undertones.
“It’s not racist at all,” Trump said last week. “It comes from China, that’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate.”
“This is the Wuhan coronavirus,” Pompeo said earlier in March. “It has proven incredibly frustrating to work with the Chinese Communist Party.”
Public health officials, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have advised against referring to the coronavirus by its city or country of origin.
The World Health Organization urged people to be “careful” in labeling the coronavirus and noted that, “Viruses know no borders and they don’t care about your ethnicity.”