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Donald Trump says US may seek damages from China over coronavirus

President Donald Trump during a press briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House. 27 April 2020. Source: AAP

US President Donald Trump says his administration is doing "very serious investigations" into China over the worldwide spread of the coronavirus.

US President Donald Trump suggested on Monday that he may seek damages from China over the coronavirus outbreak which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan and spread around the world.

"We are not happy with China," Mr Trump said at a White House briefing. "We are not happy with that whole situation because we believe it could have been stopped at the source.

"It could have been stopped quickly and it wouldn't have spread all over the world," he said.

"There are a lot of ways you can hold them accountable," Trump said. "We're doing some very serious investigations as you probably know."

Mr Trump was asked about a recent German newspaper editorial which called on China to pay Germany US$165 billion in reparations because of economic damage done by the virus.

Asked if the US would consider doing the same, the US president said "we can do something much easier than that."

"Germany is looking at things, we are looking at things," he said. "We are talking about a lot more money than Germany's talking about."

"We haven't determined the final amount yet," Mr Trump said. "It's very substantial.

"This is worldwide damage," he said. "This is damage to the US, but this is damage to the world."

There have been more than 55,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the United States and the pandemic has shut down huge swathes of the economy, leaving tens of millions unemployed.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others and gatherings are limited to two people unless you are with your family or household.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

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