COVID-19 damages: China gets 130-billion-pound bill from Germany

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London: China is facing a backlash from major European powers after suspicions over its role in the coronavirus pandemic which has caused 1 lakh deaths in Europe.

The Express UK reported that that a major German newspaper has put together a 130-billion-pound invoice that Beijing “owes” Berlin following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

European powers like Germany, France, the UK and the US have unleashed criticism at China after findings have surfaced that China may have covered up the outbreak.

Germany’s largest tabloid newspaper, Bild, joined this attack by drawing up an itemised invoice for Euro 149 billion (130 billion pounds).

The list includes a Euro 27 billion charge for lost tourism revenue, up to euro 7.2 billion for the German film industry, a million euros an hour for German airline Lufthansa and euro 50 billion for German small businesses.

Bild calculated that this amounts to euro 1,784 (1,550 pounds) per person if Germany’s GDP falls by 4.2 per cent, under the title “What China owes us.”

Express UK reported that China has responded by claiming the invoice “stirs up xenophobia and nationalism”.

Bild Editor-in-Chief Julian Reichelt rebutted the criticism, saying: “We asked in our newspaper Bild whether China should pay for the massive economic damage the coronavirus is inflicting worldwide.

“Xi Jinping, your government and your scientists had to know long ago that coronavirus is highly infectious, but you left the world in the dark about it.”

“Your top experts didn’t respond when Western researchers asked to know what was going on in Wuhan. You were too proud and too nationalistic to tell the truth, which you felt was a national disgrace.”

On Saturday, US President Donald Trump warned that China should face consequences if it was “knowingly responsible” for unleashing the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump told reporters: “It could have been stopped in China before it started and it wasn’t, and the whole world is suffering because of it.

“If it was a mistake, a mistake is a mistake. But if they were knowingly responsible, then there should be consequences.”

He said the Chinese were “embarrassed” and the question was whether what happened with the coronavirus was “a mistake that got out of control, or was it done deliberately?”

(Agencies)