Washington: The US is working closely with Beijing to combat the coronavirus outbreak, President Donald Trump said, as the deadly infection claimed 490 lives in China and spread to over 20 countries, including India and America, prompting the World Health Organisation to declare a global health emergency.
The US Tuesday evacuated over 300 more people on two new flights out of the Chinese city Wuhan, the epicentre of the fast-spreading new coronavirus. Last week, it evacuated 195 Americans from Wuhan.
“Protecting Americans’ health also means fighting infectious diseases,” Trump said in his State of the Union speech on late Tuesday night while highlighting the initiatives taken by his administration in the healthcare sector.
“We are coordinating with the Chinese government and working closely together on the coronavirus outbreak in China. My administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat,” he said.
The death toll in coronavirus outbreak rose to 490 in China Tuesday. One death was reported earlier this week from the Philippines.
Worldwide, the virus, so far, has spread to Thailand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Macau, India, Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, United States, Canada, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Russia, Finland, Spain, UAE and Sweden.
“As we pray for all who are sick, we know that America is constantly achieving new medical breakthroughs,” Trump said in his speech.
The president underlined that his administration has launched ambitious new initiatives to substantially improve care for Americans with kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, and those struggling with mental health challenges.
Trump said a good life for American families also requires the most affordable, innovative and high-quality healthcare system.
“Before I took office, health insurance premiums had more than doubled in just 5 years. I moved quickly to provide affordable alternatives. Our new plans are up to 60 per cent less expensive.
“I have also made an ironclad pledge to American families: We will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions — that is a guarantee,” he said.
The president said his administration will always protect the Medicare and the Social Security schemes.
Asserting that his administration will never let socialism “destroy” US healthcare, he said, “As we work to improve Americans’ healthcare, there are those who want to take away your healthcare, take away your doctor, and abolish private insurance entirely.”
“One hundred thirty-two lawmakers in this room have endorsed legislation to impose a socialist takeover of our healthcare system, wiping out the private health insurance plans of 180 million Americans,” he added.