WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has said that he will look into the legislation introduced in the Senate a day earlier that proposes sanctions on China if it fails to cooperate and provide a full accounting of the events leading up to COVID-19 outbreak.
The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in China's Wuhan city last year, has claimed nearly 3,00,000 lives and infected over 4.3 million people across the world so far. The US alone has recorded close to 85,000 COVID-19 deaths.
"I will certainly look at it (the legislation), they build to sanction China so I will certainly take a look at it. I have not seen it yet," Trump told reporters on Wednesday.
The legislation was introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham and eight other senators on Tuesday. The COVID-19 Accountability Act mandates the president to make a certification to Congress within 60 days that China has provided a full and complete accounting to any COVID-19 investigation led by the US, its allies or UN affiliates such as the World Health Organization and has closed all operating wet markets that have the potential to expose humans to health risks through the introduction of zoonotic disease into the human population.
Without the certification, the president would be authorised to impose a range of sanctions such as asset freezes, travel bans, visa revocations, restricting United States financial institutions from making loans or underwritings to Chinese businesses and prohibiting Chinese firms from being listed on American stock exchanges.
Following the Senate legislation, Congressman Doug Collins on Wednesday introduced the COVID-19 Accountability Act to hold China accountable for creating a global pandemic by giving the president the authority to impose sanctions on China if they fail to cooperate.
The legislation is co-sponsored by more than two dozen lawmakers.
(Inputs from PTI)