Sadiq Khan calls Donald Trump a 'disgrace' for calling Covid-19 'the Chinese virus'

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Sadiq Khan has criticised Donald Trump for describing Covid-19 as the 'Chinese Virus'. (Getty)

Sadiq Khan has hit out at Donald Trump’s use of the term “Chinese virus” when talking about coronavirus.

Trump has been accused of putting Asian Americans at risk of retaliation by using the term, despite growing reports they are facing virus-related discrimination.

Speaking to the London Assembly on Thursday morning, the London Mayor called Trump a “disgrace” for persisting with his use of the phrase – and said the president risks denigrating minorities and dividing communities.

Despite the criticism, Trump has refused to back down.

Cases of coronavirus across the globe. (PA)

Asked why he keeps calling the coronavirus the "Chinese virus" when scientists say the disease does not respect borders and is not caused by ethnicity, Trump told reporters at the White House that he does not consider it a racist remark.

"It's not racist at all," Trump said, adding that he calls it the "Chinese virus" because he wants to be accurate.

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He indicated his terminology was a warranted pushback to Chinese officials who have been suggesting the US military might have introduced the virus to Wuhan, the Chinese city where it was first reported in late 2019.

Trump added: ”China had tried to say at one point – maybe they stopped now – that it was caused by American soldiers.

"That can't happen. It's not going to happen, not as long as I'm president. It comes from China.”

Beijing has complained, but Trump administration officials continue to link the virus to China.

The president was asked whether using a term like "Chinese virus" puts Asian-Americans at risk.

He replied: ”No, not at all. Not at all. I think they probably would agree with it 100%. It comes from China."

After the news conference, the White House defended the president's language, saying that previous epidemics, such as the Spanish flu and West Nile Virus, were named after geographic locations. They labelled the controversy a "fake media outrage".

Since coronavirus infections started appearing in the US in January, Asian-Americans have shared stories ranging from minor aggression to blatant attacks from people blaming them for the pandemic, which has killed more than 130 people in the United States.