China Blasts U.S. Handling of Virus Pandemic as ‘Total Failure’

China criticized the way the U.S. handled the coronavirus as a “total failure,” escalating the war of words between the world’s two largest economies over the origins of the pandemic.

“The U.S. response to the epidemic can be described as a complete mess and total failure,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular press briefing Tuesday in Beijing. “China served as a crucial line of defense for the world and bought precious time for the global fight against the virus.”

The comments are Beijing’s response to criticism leveled by Secretary of State Antony Blinken over the weekend that China failed “to provide real transparency” in the early stages of the outbreak last year. That shortcoming meant the virus “got out of hand faster and with, I think, much more egregious results than it might otherwise,” he said.

With probes into the origin of the virus still contentious, Blinken said a full understanding of what happened is needed to avoid a repeat.

China has suffered just 4,843 Covid-19 deaths, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University, compared to 562,533 in the U.S. The Asian nation’s economy has also rebounded much better from the pandemic, making it the only major country to see growth last year.

China “took the most rigorous control measures and shared our experience with other countries without any reservation” when the outbreak started, Zhao said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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