China’s Xi offers Trump help in the fight against coronaviruses when Wuhan is reopened to traffic

Mar 28, 2020 3:25 AM ET

WUHAN, China (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Donald Trump on Friday that he would receive China’s support to fight the coronavirus since Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak occurred, is back for the incoming traffic has been opened.

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases in a country, with nearly 85,000 infections. Hospitals in cities like New York and New Orleans are having trouble coping with the wave of patients.

Trump said China had sent virus data to U.S. scientists and would send more after he and Xi spoke on the phone.

“We talked about the experiences they had in China and all the things that took place. And we learned a lot, ”Trump told reporters.

“You have had a very hard experience. And they are doing well … President Xi is doing very well. We have learned a lot and have great communication with each other. ”

Xi’s support offer follows a verbal war between Beijing and Washington on various topics, including the pandemic. Trump and other U.S. officials have accused Beijing of lacking transparency about the outbreak, and Trump has referred to the corona virus as a “Chinese virus” because it originated there late last year.

According to a report from the conversation released by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Xi Trump repeated that China was open and transparent.

“We work closely together,” Trump said on Twitter. “Have a lot of respect!”

Wuhan, where the virus is thought to come from a fish market and has been banned for more than two months, was open to incoming traffic late Friday, although cars were not allowed to depart.

Hubei Province, whose capital is Wuhan, lifted the border restrictions for everyone except Wuhan on Wednesday, allowing people to leave the city from April 8th.

At a checkpoint that entered the city on Friday evening, three lanes were open to traffic, but there were few cars. In each lane there was a single person in military clothing who checked the health codes of the arriving passengers.

Customs officers in protective suits are seen near a Sichuan Airlines aircraft on the tarmac at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport after a global outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, on March 26, 2020. Cnsphoto via REUTERS

Along the highway leading into the city of 11 million people, blue and white signs indicated traffic to the now closed Huoshenshan Hospital, which was built in eight days and opened in early February, symbolizing China’s aggressive management of the outbreak after aggressive efforts .

Other evidence of the outbreak that devastated the city was February 16 posters that sought volunteers to help fight the epidemic.

“The exits outside the city are still closed. We respectfully ask for your understanding, ”said a traffic sign along the highway.

Numerous people were trapped inside and outside of Wuhan and Hubei, and many of the cars that entered the city had Wuhan license plates, indicating that they were bringing residents back.

The World Health Organization has announced that the United States is expected to become the new epicenter of the pandemic.

CHINA CUT FLIGHTS

Like the U.S. hospitals, China’s medical system struggled to contain the coronavirus two months ago, but draconian city closures and severe travel restrictions eased the crisis.

The Chinese mainland reported its first local coronavirus case in three days and 54 new imported cases on Friday when Beijing ordered airlines to cut international flights significantly, fearing travelers might trigger the outbreak again.

The 55 new cases discovered on Thursday declined from 67 the day before, the National Health Commission said, increasing the infection count to 81,340. China’s death toll was 3,292 on Thursday, five more than the previous day.

Hubei with around 60 million inhabitants reported no new cases on Thursday.

China’s trade capital, Shanghai, reported the highest number of newly imported cases at 17, followed by 12 in the southern province of Guangdong and four each in the capital Beijing and the nearby city of Tianjin.

125 overseas patients have now traveled to Shanghai, including 46 from the UK and 27 from the USA.

As of Sunday, China has ordered its airlines to fly only one route to one country, with only one flight a week. Foreign airlines have similar restrictions on flights to China, although many have already canceled their flights.

Around 90% of the current international flights to China are suspended, causing the number of passengers to drop from 25,000 to 5,000 a day, the civil aviation regulator said late Thursday.

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