U.S. commits up to $100 mln to China, other countries to fight coronavirus
Updated 08:24, 08-Feb-2020

The U.S. government announced today that it is prepared to contribute up to 100 million U.S. dollars to aid China and other nations that are working to fight the 2019 novel coronavirus.

"This commitment – along with the hundreds of millions generously donated by the American private sector – demonstrates strong U.S. leadership in response to the outbreak," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

"We encourage the rest of the world to match our commitment. Working together, we can have a profound impact to contain this growing threat," he said.

Pompeo said the United States would provide the assistance either directly or through multilateral organizations.

He said the spending would come out of unspecified funds that have already been allocated within the U.S. government.

The aid pledge comes after Beijing criticized the U.S. response to the health crisis, saying that Washington has been spreading "panic" by banning the entry of foreign nationals who traveled to China.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday praised China's response as "very professional" after he spoke on the phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Pompeo said the United States has donated close to 17.8 tons of medical supplies to China including masks, gowns, gauze and respirators.

At least 34,000 people in two dozen countries have been infected, with more than 720 people killed as of 7:30 a.m. BJT, Saturday. The virus emerged late last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan. 

(With input from AFP)