CHINA unloaded on the US and Donald Trump after the president repeated referred to the coronavirus as a "Chinese Virus."
The president appeared to blame China for the coronavirus outbreak, which originated in the city of Wuhan back in December.
Beijing has demanded the US "immediately correct its mistake and stop making unwarranted accusations on China," on Monday.
Geng Shuang, a spokesperson from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters "certain American politicians" were stigmatizing China by linking it to COVID-19.
Chinese state news agency Xinhua said Shuang was referring to the president even though he didn't name him in the briefing.
"We express strong indignation and resolute opposition to this," Shuang declared.
"The urgent task for the international community is to respond with aggressive and concerted efforts.
"The US should get its domestic issues handled first, and make constructive efforts in international cooperation to safeguard global public health security."
In a press release, Shuang emphasized the World Health Organization and the international community "oppose intentional linkage of the virus and specific countries or regions, which is a form of stigmatization."
Trump used the phrase again today when he tweeted about some states "being hit hard by the Chinese Virus, some are being hit practically not at all.
'SLANDER AND SMEAR'
Trump's tweet read: "The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!"
The president has frequently attacked China and initiated a trade war that pushed up tariffs on household goods like washing machines.
China has warned the US not to engage in "slander and smear" over their handling of the outbreak.
Last week, one Chinese minister suggested coronavirus could have started as a US biological weapon, repeating an unfounded claim made by Iran last month.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted this disinformation as "fake news" and said China were trying to "shift blame".
Pompeo emphasized "this is not the time to spread disinformation and outlandish rumors, but rather a time for all nations to come together to fight this common threat," the department added.
Speaking to reporters at the White House last night, Trump also acknowledged that the virus could tip the US economy into negative growth.
Asked whether the country was now heading for a recession, he said: "Well, it may be. We have an invisible enemy.
"We have a problem that, a month ago, nobody thought about.
"I've seen all of the other problems similar to the one we have. This one's a bad one."
Trump said that disruption from the pandemic could last until July or August, leading to speculation it could interfere with his campaign for re-election in November.
Trump's press conference was held at the end of a day that saw US stock markets continue to slide.
The Dow Jones fell almost 3,000 points, or nearly 13 per cent, on Monday in its worst day since 1987.
The S&P 500 dropped by more than eight percent on the opening bell, triggering a 15-minute suspension of trading.
Asked about the falls, the president said: "The best thing I can do for the stock market is we can get through this crisis."
The coronavirus has now spread to the majority of countries in the world, with over 180,000 cases and more than 7,000 deaths confirmed globally.
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